Wednesday, June 16, 2010

One Big Giant Boo Hoo

I'm a person who charges through things, head on, to get to the other side. I don't wallow. But this is my blog and so today, I'm going to wallow...

My baby just turned 3 and I nursed her until she was almost 16 months. That means my body has had less than 2 years to re-adjust from years of infertility treatments, pregnancy or nursing back to it's normal hormonal state. It took a little while after Laura was weaned (because of the auto-immune issue I developed) but when she was just shy of 2 years, my period regulated itself again and was just as it had been prior to my family building journey. I have just had the rude awakening that the "ride" is over. My body is springing forward into peri-menopause.

Huh? At 41? Yup. And I don't like it.

My lovely sister (who is 2 1/2 years my senior) thinks I should be thrilled.Her theory? No more birth control (um, we have male factor infertility-we don't NEED birth control). No more menstrual cycles to worry about; which, in theory, sounds great. Except she hasn't experienced 2 a.m. night sweats, a full month of spotting-or perhaps the worst: the unexpected and unannounced menstrual "surprise" that caught me in white shorts, completely off my guard. What she's not thinking about is, well, uncontrollable night sweats, mood swings, weight gain and crankiness.

So okay, the mood swings and crankiness haven't happened yet and the weight gain is probable due to overeating and under moving but remember, this is my blog and my wallow...

Seriously, though? 41? Peri-Menopause? It seems unfair.

And then I think-maybe it's NOT menopause and maybe it's something else. Something I should see my GYN about. Some rare and weird side effect from years of infertility treatments (I am NOT a hypochondriac-really, I'm not). But I just don't want to see my GYN right now. It's summer, the kids are home, we are having fun. The GYN is not fun. Not to mention my favorite (female) GYN is no longer working and I don't really want to see a nurse practitioner, midwife or one of the male doctors. I want to see someone I trust completely and feel comfortable with because let's face it, menopause at 41 isn't something I want to share with just anyone (except the entire world wide web, via this blog).

I want some hand-holding. I want to be told I'm not going to get cranky or lose my sex drive or gain a ton of weight, just because I'm going through menopause.

What I really want is another 5-8 years of baby-making abilities, even though know I won't be having any more babies. 41 is early. I don't want to be early. I want to be in the norm.

So that's my big boo-hoo.

Friday, May 7, 2010


My kids are growing up. The safety bumpers have long since been removed from our coffee table and the safety locks on the cabinets are gone. Legos and other small toys decorate our floors on a daily basis and it's suffice to say that our house is no longer baby-proof. As difficult as it is to admit, Laura is a full fledged child. At nearly 3, she hasn't napped in months, prefers riding her bike to watching Baby Einsteins and has enough attitude to rival any tween.

This stage is so much fun. Both kids are playing (non-competitive) wiffle ball. Rod and I take them to the driving range and tennis courts, they love the beach and enjoy boogie boarding and this year, they helped wash and wax the boat (they spent most of the time taking turns playing "Captain" and "First Mate" but they were out there with us). They are creative and able to do "things" yet they are still totally innocent. It's such a great time of life.

Every once in a while, my arms ache to hold a baby in my arms, to feel the suckle of their thirst, to inhale the newborn smell through my nostrils. I used to think this longing stemmed from losing Hannah, Ryan and Abby and I'm sure part of it is. But I think part of it is also because I realize that life is accelerating at a rate that's unfathomable. Sometimes when I'm shopping, I walk right past the Size 5 pants because when I glance at them, I assume they are way to big to fit my son and yet that is the size he wears.

As a teen, I would to get annoyed when my folks would tell me that they can't believe how fast life happens. I couldn't wait to drive, or graduate high school or turn 21. And while I would never go back to these days, it's a bit shocking to realize that at 41, I'm now closer to being 60 than I was to being 20. And it's almost impossible to believe that 5 years ago tomorrow was the day that my son safely entered my world. While I was pregnant, it went so slowly. Now that they are here, it's going too fast...

Monday, February 8, 2010


"Redshirting" was once used to describe college athletes who are kept from play for a year, so that they can still put in 4 years, but at an older, more refined and developed age. Now the term is often being used to describe kids who enter kindergarten a year late with the hopes that being the oldest will give them the academic and athletic advantage.

It's a hot topic.

And it's one I'm currently considering.Joey is a May baby and our kindergarten cut-off date is October first. He would probably be one of, if not the oldest, child in his class growing up. The thought of that scares me and yet I am still thinking of holding him from kindergarten next year.

But it's not to give him an academic or athletic advantage as he grows. See, for me, I am 100% sure that holding my son now is the right thing to do for him, now. The T-K program we are looking at will have between 10 and 12 children, all who will be 5 years old when they start and 6 years old when they finish. The program focuses on many of the skills that he would be learning in Kindergarten, but extra emphasis is given to social and emotional confidence and growth. Academically and athletically (if there is such a thing for a 4 1/2 year old) he's ready. It's the "social" and "emotional" where he needs a little more time. He's come a long way but he's just not there yet. This T-K program is the perfect stepping stone for my son and I know it would do wonders for him.

His pediatrician believes that he's a child that could go either way. His exact words were, "Knowing Joey as I do, if he were born in July, I would tell you to hold him. But May is on the far end" But that only makes me wonder more if T-K is the place for him. His preschool teachers have said, "He would benefit from an extra year but he would probably be okay if you sent him" Do I want to gamble with "probably" when I know he would benefit from one more year?

Sounds like a no-brainer, right? Except it's not. It's not the now that I worry about, it's the later. What happens when he is turning 8 in first grade, 12 in 5th grade? 17 (the age in which NJ children are eligible to test for their driver's license) at the end of his sophomore year? Will he feel differently because he is older? Will he feel like an outcast? Will he be bored academically?

So, do I hold him because I believe it's best for my son "now" but then worry about the "later" potential long term consequences? Or do I send him now so he's not the oldest child in the class and worry about the consequences of this decision on his current social confidence?

In life, there is no crystal ball. And so, I'll continue to weigh the pros and cons of both options, then make my decision. Hopefully, in 20 years from now, I will look back on this angst with a smile, knowing I made the right decision.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Hot Chocolate and Some Love

This past weekend, I was part of a wonderful thing-something that made me cry and made me proud to live in my community. Recently, a friend's son was diagnosed with Stage IV Neuroblastoma (see post "I just don't understand"). Our community has rallied to support this family in ways that are simply amazing~meals are scheduled for the next few months, carpooling for the other kids has been coordinated, notes and cards of encouragement and support are dropped off daily and many events are being planned in an effort to raise money to help with medical costs associated with his care and treatment.

The first fundraising event, "HOT CHOCOLATE FOR CHARLIE" occurred this past Saturday. It was an outdoor fundraiser where people could come, have coffee and hot chocolate, socialize and enjoy the crisp winter day. We had a clown there who made balloon figures for kids and a brownie troop sold brown ribbons with a purple heart to raise money. We sold homemade goodies that included cookies, cupcakes and rice krispie treats. People milled around and socialized while kids ran around playing.

"Team Charlie" hoped for a good turnout but nobody expected what we got: hundreds of families coming out, many who don't know the family but want to support them. At the end of the day, we had leftover goodies that were pack up to be sent to CHOP (The Childrens Hospital of PA) for kids who are staying there. The Brownie Troupe counted their money and handed over $500.00, just from selling their pins. The unofficial accountants for the "Team Charlie" bake sale took the cash raised over to the bank and tallied it up. It's amazing what a simple idea, a little hard work and a lot of love can accomplish. HOT CHOCOLATE FOR CHARLIE, a small community fundraiser, earned over $5,000.00 to help this family. It was inspiring.

Friday, January 8, 2010


About 3 1/2 weeks ago, during a self breast exam, I felt some things that just weren't right.I made an appointment with my GYN and today she confirmed that they are indeed, lumps. Monday I'm going for a diagnostic mammogram.

I know there are a million things that this could be (or not be). I'm not in panic mode about what it may (or may not) be, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't nervous. I am.

Please send some good vibes my way. Thanks.
UPDATE: And after a very stressful mammogram and ultrasound, I do not have cancer. I also don't have time to write everything I want to write about this experience but I did want to update. My heart goes out to any man or woman who experiences this but received a cancer diagnosis. Wishing you all peace.

Monday, January 4, 2010

I Just Don't Understand...

Less than 3 weeks ago, I went Cross-Country Skiing with a friend. We spent a lot of time talking about her son, Charlie, who has been having some strange health problems. Charlie is her "baby" and turned 3 on December 26. But instead of celebrating his birthday that day, he was admitted to Childrens Hospital Of PA (CHOP) and his parents were given his diagnosis: Cancer. Neuroblastoma. Stage 4.

When I think about Charlie and his prognosis, I feel physically ill. And I want to wrap my arms around both of them and hug them and make them feel safe and make all the cancer go away. I hope with all my heart that Charlie beats the odds and his treatments cure him. Statistically, due to his age and the status of his cancer, the odds are against him. However, there are kids who make up the small statistic of those who survive and remain cancer free. There's no reason why Charlie can't be one of those kids. But my mind can't help but going to that dark place some times.

A long time ago, I gave up my belief in an all powerful all mighty God who controls all of the awful things that happen in this world. But I haven't given up on the Almighty God and the power of prayer for strength. For anyone who reads this, I ask you to keep Charlie and his Mom, Julie, in your prayers. Ask that Charlie has the physical stamina to thrive through the harsh treatments he'll undergo, and ask that Julie will continue to have the unbelievable strength that she has as she watches her son struggle with this awful disease while at the same time, finding the balance between caring for Charlie and caring for her 2 girls at home.

Friday, December 18, 2009


Today, I got blindsided by grief and sadness. I can't really say why. Nothing extraordinary happened. I didn't hear any good or bad news regarding pregnancies or babies. Joey and Laura are doing well and life is, generally, really good.

Except that for whatever reason, my heart aches tonight and I am sad. Tears flooded my eyes as I realized that this heavy feeling is from missing Hannah, Ryan and Abby and what could have been...

I am not a person who can close her eyes and imagine life with three 6 year old triplets running around. I don't know if I can't do it because I won't do it or if I won't do it because I can't do it, but either way, I don't imagine life with Hannah, Ryan and Abby. What I do wonder is who they would have been and what they would look like.

If I could take a short journey back in time, there is no doubt that I would travel back to the week they were born. It would be unbelievably painful to relive that week, but I can no longer remember what it felt like to hold them. Right now, I long to hold them, smell them and feel that overwhelming sense of love that comes right after your child is placed in your arms. And even though it would be unbelievably painful to relive that week, it would be worth the pain to remember.

Hannah, Ryan and Abby~I love you and I miss you so very much.