Friday, April 29, 2011

If You Think Infertility Is Not a Common Disease, You Really Haven't Been Paying Attention

I've held off posting for Infertility Awareness Week, as I mulled over the various infertility myths which need busting and awaited my period. Thoughts on which myth to choose swirled together with questions about whether this time will be different: Will I have a "normal" cycle? Will we face more miscarriages? Will it take us a long time? Will there be problems?

You see, we had some trouble trying to have our first baby. A couple of years and miscarriages later, our gorgeous, brilliant, amazing daughter was born, and filled a giant hole in our hearts. But our family doesn't feel complete, and we'd like another child. We're two years older now, and have no idea what to expect this time around. Because, infertility isn't something that happens once in a blue moon. It's not something that happens to bad people. It's not something that happens to fat people. It's not something that happens because of something you eat, or don't. It's not something that happens to old people. It's not something that happens to white people. It's not something that happens to poor people. It's not something that happens to women. It's something, quite simply, that happens to all people, of every gender, every race, every religion, every country, every socioeconomic group. It's something that happens to people just like me. It's something that happens to people just like YOU.

In fact, there is no question but that you know someone who is suffering from infertility, even if you are not yourself. One in six couples will struggle with it. Think of how many people you know with children. Think of how many you know that don't. Now, reconsider everything you think you know about how their children came to be, or why it is they don't have children. It is one of the world's biggest secrets, and millions suffer in silence.

Infertility is technically defined as the inability to get pregnant. Quite simply, the woman or the man has something physical that isn't working--could be ovaries, or tubes, or male or female hormone levels, or testicles, or many, many other things. There are myriad things that can go wrong, and it can be sometimes difficult or even impossible to pinpoint the problem.

If you have a malfunctioning heart, or lungs, or kidneys, or liver, no one questions that you have diseased organs. Such problems can be life-threatening, and of course they are treated as serious infirmities. You are taken seriously. You are given treatment. Perhaps most importantly, you are given acknowledgement and societal affirmation that you have a medical problem, and you are supported. Sadly, that doesn't happen to couples who are suffering from infertility. They are invisible, unsupported, mute.

Infertility is about sexual health, and we still have Puritanical attitudes about all things related to sexual health. But it's time to break the silence. It's time to shed the shame. It's time, quite simply, to bring infertility out of the shadows. It's time to support millions of men and women around the world, because infertility is no different from any other disease. It's about body parts not functioning. It's about a sexual organ disease. It's time it was not a shameful secret, but rather a rightfully acknowledged and supported, very common medical problem.

I don't know what is in store for me in terms of family building, but I hope that what is in store for men and women everywhere is transparency, acknowledgement, acceptance and support. In the end, that is what makes the tough bits bearable. Because while this isn't a disease that will kill you, it is certainly one which can steal your soul.

Looking for more information about infertility? Look here:
For more information about National Infertility Awareness Month, look here: .

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Even More Little Pieces

Argh. . .

  • I am still in a lot of abdominal pain. I am hoping it is the ovaries chugging back into action after many, many months of sitting in rusty silence, and not an ovarian cyst. Because, I leave tomorrow, and that would really, really suck.
  • Miss M has been jibber jabbering away pretty endlessly for most of the last week. I have no idea what she is saying most of the time.
  • Okay, I've figured out what time I'm leaving and returning, and where I'm staying. I have three things on my list of things I want to do. I'm sure there is more than that, but I haven't had a chance to actually plan the weekend. Hence, there will be lots of sitting and relaxing. Which I am no good at. It makes me feel like I'm wasting time.
  • I have two Easter dresses for Miss M, both gifts. I plan to take her somewhere nice on Easter and take pictures of her in both dresses, then send both people pictures saying that she wore their dress on Easter. As long as they don't trade photos, they will both feel special. (I'm sure I will get caught.)
  • Did I mention that my bloodwork for that one little lab test cost more than $100, and Miss M's specialist appointment was almost $400? Yikes. My insurance will reimburse for some of it (maybe all of it, if I'm lucky), but we have to pay up front then get reimbursed, which is lousy, and who knows how long it will take to get the check. . .which was also complicated by the fact that the insurance company fax machine was apparently conveniently switched off the first time I tried to send in the receipts.
  • I haven't packed, and it's late, and I have to be at work early in the morning. This is going to be one of those nights where I only get a few hours of sleep. Joy. (I know, I shouldn't be blogging!)
  • We rented an apartment for the weekend through an agency, which seemed like a good idea at the time. We did it once before, for one of our favorite vacations ever (went back twice). But that was before we had Miss M. I'm now questioning my judgement on that. It feels a little sketchy, and I'm much more careful now that we have her.
Okay, off to bed, and up early to pack. Happy Easter for those that celebrate, and happy weekend for those that don't.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

More Bits and Pieces

  • Last night, I did something for myself: I bought a last minute ticket to a play, and I went by myself. Since Miss M. was born, I rarely do things on my own. I would so much rather spend time with her and T. But there are some things I simply can't do with her, and theater is one of them. I love theater, so it was great to catch a show.
  • I am currently in an enormous amount of abdominal pain. I have no idea why.
  • The first time I was pregnant, my rubella test came back fine. Then with Miss M's pregnancy, it came back showing my immunity was not full (great to learn when you can't do anything about it). I had read that increased blood volume during pregnancy can cause a false result, so I declined the booster after I delivered Miss M, fully intending to get a titre. And then I got the new job, moved (twice), and life basically got in the way of worries like my rubella immunity. But I remembered it last week, and got a script for the necessary blood test while we were taking Miss M to her doctor (a GP). The test results came back perfectly fine, so I'm in the clear.
  • We're going away for a long weekend. I have no idea where our passports are, what time we leave, what time we arrive, the location of the place where we are staying, or the things that we will do this weekend while we are there. I may need to get my act together.
  • And now, it's off to bed for me. I'm exhausted.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Miss M at 15 Months

Dear Miss M,

With every passing month, you grow and change in ways we could not have imagined. We are constantly delighted by you. You are constantly engaged in the world around you, and learn something new every day.

You eat a wide array of foods. You've been feeding yourself finger food for a while. Cheese is still one of your favorites--the stronger the flavor the better. You like Cheerios, too. Slices of apples are good, and you like omelets with cheese, but not plain fried eggs. You really like chicken, as well. You don't like bananas (too slimy) if we cut them up, but you'll eat them pureed. You go mad for bread, and like more complex flavors like garlic bread and olive bread (fresh bread with garlic or olives baked in). You really like all fruits and vegetables, and we feed you copious amounts of them. Dairy is really your favorite thing--your beloved cheese, yogurt, cottage cheese, milk. It's all tops in your book, except for ice cream, which is just too cold for you! You are also a big fan of these freeze-dried fruit and yogurt puffs that grammy sends us from the U.S., and you scream if we stop giving them to you before you are ready to be done with them. We went for pizza the other day, and we ordered you a pizza of your very own off the children's menu. At first, I cut off little pieces for you, but you really wanted a whole slice, so I let you have one. It was the perfect size for you, and you delighted in chomping bites off with your front teeth, eating the cheese off the top, then licking the sauce off. You were a mess by the end of the meal, but you enjoyed it.

You have six teeth now--four on top and two on the bottom. You have a cute little Lauren Hutton gap between your front teeth. Occasionally, you chomp on us, and we have to reprimand you. I don't think you yet understand that teeth hurt.

You have a handful of words now--mama, dada, yes, no, up, book, hi (or even better, "hiya!"), and go. The "go" is one of my favorites. You slide out of bed in the morning and run to the (shut) bedroom door, and pound on it while saying "go, go, go!" Our morning ritual is that we get mommy a cup of coffee and you a yogurt and some milk, and then you eat your yogurt while we watch cartoons together.

You are very, very busy. From the time you wake up in the morning until the time you fall asleep, you are literally running around and into everything. You don't stop for one second. Your grandfather and nana were just here to visit, and the weather has warmed up enough to play outside, and you spent a lot of time in our little backyard while they were here. Nana was afraid you were going to fall on the stairs, which are cement and an odd height. Of course, you are like a moth to a flame with them, and anything else that is dangerous or undesirable from our point of view. You so love to be out there that you will now take us by the hand when we are upstairs, and lead us downstairs and over to the door so that we take you outside. It is very cute. You also try to go out there even when it is dark. You have NO fear of the dark! And speaking of nana, she spoiled you rotten when she was here, and we had to do a bit of deprogramming after she left. You no longer wanted to walk up and down the stairs, for example, because she carried you everywhere. After she left, when we declined to carry you, you would stand at the top of the stairs and cry. After a few days of this, though, you finally gave up and started going up and down again on your own.

Now that it is warm, we also spend a lot of time at the many playgrounds that are dotted around the city. You love to run around at the playground. You are absolutely smitten with other children. You approach them with absolute glee and wonder, waving and telling them hello. You sometimes try to touch them, which freaks some of them out. You love to play in the sandboxes, ride the swings, and climb on things. We have to be careful, though, because you are also fearless, and will jump off things that are much too high for you to be jumping off. You also keep trying to climb UP the slide after you go down it. You seem to be having a tough time grasping that it goes in one direction only!

You love to be out and around in our city. Because strollers are a bit tough to use here (European cities are not handicapped accessible, and therefore not stroller accessible, either!), we've been taking you out and about in a hard frame backpack that we have for you. You love it. You have a great view of the world from back there, and we frequently turn around to discover that you are waving hello and grinning for every passing person. You are just such a glowing, happy child. People constantly comment on how full of joy you are. It is so wonderful.

At your 15 month checkup last week, the nurse practictioner was impressed with how strong you are, how busy, how developed. She said, as we are so accustomed to hearing at these visits, that you are at the top of the charts developmentally. It was difficult to contain you long enough to have a conversation with her about you! You settled right down for her to examine you, though, politely considering her stethoscope as though you knew it was the right thing to do. She was surprised to see you sit still! You are a peanut on their growth charts, though. You've barely grown in the last 3 months, although you've gained maybe a pound. The nurse said that she thinks you are about to shoot up again. We hope so. I worry constantly about whether you are getting the right nutrition, about whether you are growing okay. I suspect that you are simply going to be petite, but we do work hard to make sure you are eating well.

The nurse practictioner was not concerned about your size, though. She was far more interested in chastising us for allowing you to sleep in our bed, and for using a bottle still. You slept in your crib for a seven hour stretch this month, and we've tried the sippy cup. . .it's just that you prefer the bottle, and I'm more concerned about actually getting the milk into you than I am with what you are drinking it out of. On the sleep. . .we have had a string of bad nights lately, where you wake up sobbing inconsolably, and it's difficult to wake you. You also had one night where you were inexplicably just wide awake and wanting to play in the middle of the night. So, you are in our bed still, because it mostly works. We are going to work on having you sleep in your crib more, though. We'll get there. And we are working on the cup, as you are finally more interested in drinking out of a real cup. You still have little interest in the sippy, though.

We have a little rocking chair that was mine when I was a little girl, and we have brought it out for you to use. You love sitting in it, and it is so adorable to see my little girl in my chair. Sometimes you try to stand in it, and we have to tell you not to do that! Your grandpa got a kick out of seeing you do that, and pointed out that I used to do just that same thing. You also like to upend the chair and try to stand on it.

Speaking of standing on things, this week you emptied your toy box, pushed it over to the couch, and used it as a step to climb up onto the couch. You then tried to go over the back of the couch (which is kind of high!) to the bookshelves behind it. Daddy says "no more toybox" now!

This week at your doctor's visit, the nurse practictioner wanted to know if we had you using crayons, and she seemed horrified when we said we did not. I said that I thought you'd try to eat them. She said I needed to watch you (really?!). So, I bought you some washable giant Crayola crayons yesterday. You were not interested in coloring in the least. But, you wanted to eat them. How well I know you! I think we are going to get you some sidewalk chalk, though. I think you'll find that more interesting, because it takes less pressure to color. You just don't have the hang of crayon coloring yet.

You help us dress you now, by holding up your feet when we put your socks on, or by putting your arms up over your head when we put on or take off your shirt. We have loads of wonderful clothes for you right now. Dressing you has become quite fun, given all of the cute little choices we have. Grammy loves to shop, and sends you loads of terrific things. Hopefully, you will not look back at the pictures in 20 years and make fun of how old-fashioned the clothes are, as I do with my baby pictures from the '70's! She also just sent you some wonderful Easter presents--movies of Minnie and Mickey, stuffed Minnie and Mickey dolls that are almost as big as you, a Minnie towel, and Minnie cup and plate. You ADORE Minnie and Mickey, and squealed with delight when you got the stuffed dolls. If anyone had told me that such a young child would be so attracted to a particular figure, I would have never believed it. But it's true: you developed at thing for the Mouse on your first birthday, and it has been that way ever since.

We are looking forward to seeing you grow and change over the next month. We have big plans to do some European travel this month, and it will be fun to see how it all works out. I have no doubt, though, that you will experience it all with great joy and enthusiasm, as you approach everything else in life.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Nuclear Nightmare

I've always been opposed to nuclear power, not only because of what happens when a reactor fails (always a possibility, however remote you want to convince yourself it is), but also because of the issue of spent fuel and what we do with it. The crisis in Japan has only solidified my feelings on this. As much as we need new energy solutions in America, it's important to acknowledge the dangers of nuclear power. It's just not worth it. (Sorry, President Obama.)

This photo essay on the lingering aftereffects of the Chernobyl disaster brings that home. I believe the photos are from the late 1990's. It focuses on the children of Chernobyl, and what happened to them. Those who were in utero or newborn at the time of the disaster were particularly hard hit. It's painful to watch, but I think it's important that we bear witness and that we not look away. It's important that we not forget.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Well Baby Visit, Thoughts on Babies, My Neuroses and More

Miss M had her 15 month appointment today. She hasn't really grown in the last three months, which we knew (freaks me out, though). She is gaining weight on the same trajectory as she's been on for the last 4 months or so (we've been going in once a month for a weight check). She also got her pc vaccine today. She cried bitterly for a few minutes, which was the first time in a long time a shot has made her cry. And then, it was loads of happiness over all the trucks in the waiting room. At least the sadness doesn't last long!

While I was there, I also asked about my rubella immunity. When I had my first pregnancy (which ended in my first m/c), my rubella immunity was fine, but when I later was pregnant with Miss M, it was wonky. I declined to have the vaccine while in the hospital, and meant to have it rechecked a while back. But then I got the job and moved, and it kind of got lost in the chaos. Now that we are thinking about #2, I want to be sure that's squared away. I also got a list of recommended OB's in my current area. Not surprisingly, almost all of them are male, or practice with men. That's one area I just can't cave on. Male OB's freak me out. I just can't have one. It's not a modesty thing, but rather an issue of not wanting someone to treat me who doesn't have those kind of parts. I've had a few bad experiences in the stirrups with male doctors, and now I have a rule that you have to know what a speculum feels like in order to use one on me.

I can tell that I'm finally heading in the direction of a normal cycle. I would guess AF will be here in a week or so. I think I might actually be ovulating right now. Which is probably far too much information for YOU, but this will serve as a note for me when I wonder three weeks from now how long my LP was.

I am still mulling over the timing of #2. A lot of people (including my boss!) have asked me about it lately. Two-ish years would be a really perfect amount of time between kids. I remember talking to my old OB after my miscarriage, and about whether we could/should wait another year after that to start trying to have a family, and about the fact that we wanted more than one. Her advice was basically that a) we knew that I COULD get pregnant, so that was a positive, and while there are no guarantees, b) I could have one at 37 and one at 39, and it would still work. It didn't sound like she really thought I should go beyond that, though. And well, we had one when I was 37.

I've been trying to figure out why I feel so stuck in place on this issue. It's because Miss M feels like such a gift. I am so focused on her. She is just such a joy. She's such a happy, amusing child, and I'm completely enjoying her. Which, on the one hand, suggests that we should have another so there twice the joy, and also so is a bit more balance there and she doesn't turn into a spoiled freaky child. But on the other hand, it's hard for me to imagine what happens with a second child. How do you make each child feel special? How do you keep each child from feeling neglected? I know, I am such a neurotic freak (I am also trying to become a closet freak so I do not impart my many neuroses on my daughter. . .)

Despite my neuroses, I'm starting to imagine what it will be like to have a baby in the house again. It's starting to feel a bit more real, a bit less theoretical. But still pretty theoretical. If I have a normal-ish cycle soon, it will probably feel a bit more possible.

By the way, I've been blogging a lot at night, when everyone is fast asleep, which is also when I'm deliriously exhausted. . .which is a long way of saying that I know I'm rambling and not being clear in some of my posts. Which brings me back to my last post. I'm not so much envious of the man's money, as I am feeling a little out of sorts and mulling over the issue of what it means to belong. Work things have been bringing it on, primarily. It just seems like some people never struggle to belong--they are always on the inside. I have never been one of those people, and I doubt I ever will be. I am hard wired to be a girl from a blue collar family who has worked her butt off for everything she has. On the other hand, I suppose that from the outside, there are loads of people who probably think that I am that person who effortlessly belongs. It's all a matter of perspective, I suppose.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Bits and Pieces

It was a glorious day here yesterday. The parks were full of couples lounging on blankets and kids playing ball and dogs gleefully chasing each other around. We ate lunch outside, then took Miss M to the playground. She pitched a fit when we finally made her leave, then settled down when we let her walk for a while before putting her back in the stroller. She is quite the independent little thing these days, and dearly loves running around with other kids. It's a little heartbreaking, actually, to see how much she loves to interact with other children, given that she so rarely has playmates. We must find her some little friends.


When we left the park, we strolled up a street that we had not been on before. As we admired the architectural details of the row of expensive brick townhouses that backed up directly to the park, an older man pulled up in what can only be described as an obscure and beat up jalopy. It was probably 40 years old or so, and had a funny two-tone paint job. Someone had applied a series of bullet hole stickers along one side of the car. The man who hopped out was late 50's or early 60's, and barefoot. He was trim and muscular and lightly tanned, with longish grey hair and a jaunty grin--self-assured and handsome. He sported a lime green sports shirt and red shorts, and air of carefully cultured quirkiness that only comes from old money. He swung a tennis racket out of the back of the car, clearly fresh from a match.

I was, for a moment, transfixed by him, and I found myself thinking of him this morning. It doesn't matter how much money I make. I will never have that self-assured air that comes from being born into privilege. I know people are people and people have problems no matter what, and I can honestly say that I don't covet enormous wealth. But I do sometimes envy that easy sense of security and belonging that so often seems to come from having been born into money.


Things have been relatively drama free at work since taking this new job, but the proverbial manure finally hit the fan last week over a stupid issue. It was one of those things that shouldn't have happened--a manager higher than than me on the food chain deliberately made a decision that made a low level employee feel invisible and worthless. I was drawn into the situation by the manager's decision, as well, although I had no say in it. I'm powerless to do anything about it, and the harm can't really been undone. It's negatively impacted my entire team and set a real dividing line, and it completely bums me out. There are some things for which apologies and words of support just aren't enough, and this is one of those situations. It all made me contemplate karma, and whether people who do bad things really do get what they give in the end. I want to believe that fundamental decency wins out in the universe, but some days I am not so sure.


And speaking of fundamental decency, or the lack thereof. . .I was looking for something on Facebook the other day, and discovered that they've changed things yet again (which drives me crazy, by the way--stop innovating, FB! I can't find anything!). I never log on to my account, so I always have to play with everything to find the parts I want (which is probably why it feels like they move everything. . .if I used it more often, I likely wouldn't even notice). Anywhooo, I was scrolling through the "notes" tab for the first time, which is apparently where you can read through a compilation of all of your "friends" notes. While doing that, I came across a really awful, horribly prejudiced anti-Muslim rant posted by one of my high school classmates. We're "friends" on FB, but I have not actually spoken to this person in more than 20 years. The post is cloaked in what purport to be educated, academic references, but it's really just awful hate speech. The writer clearly has never actually met a Muslim, let alone had Muslim friends. Let's just say it was written from the perspective of "us" versus "them."

I literally saw red. I started writing a ranting post to him in response, berating him for his ignorance. The world just doesn't need what he put out there. After typing furiously for a few minutes, though, I realized I needed to walk away, cool down, and contemplate the situation before I posted anything. Responding to hate with anger isn't likely to solve the problem. That was a few days ago, and I have not posted anything yet.

As I see it, I have three options: I can ignore it (not happening); I can unfriend him and ignore it (likely also not happening); or I can respond (and then maybe unfriend him). I feel compelled to say something, because I believe that kind of prejudice is simply unacceptable. I can't imagine that he would have posted such a rant about women, or Latinos, or African Americans. Anti-Muslim speech is intolerance, plain and simple, and he needs to know that it's not okay, just like any other "-ism" is not okay (racism, sexism, etc.). I feel like by remaining silent, I would be condoning his speech, even if he couldn't possibly know that I read what he wrote. I feel like I have an obligation to speak up, I guess. It was only by people speaking up and drawing the line that people got over (or are continuing to get over, I suppose) other forms of prejudice.

But I struggle with the content of my response. I just don't understand how people who don't actually know Muslims buy into the anti-Muslim propaganda that some non Muslim extremists are peddling. I keep wondering how he got there. We grew up in a small New England town--99% white, 99% Christian, 99% same. But most of us also grew up to respect diversity. How do people get to being so hateful? And what do I say that will make a difference to someone so misinformed? I suppose I could start a dialogue, start by asking what happened to make him so anti-Muslim, but it's pretty clear from what he wrote that 9/11 is the genesis of his personal flavor of prejudice. There are good and bad people in every race, religion, gender, neighborhood, profession, sport, hobby, etc. I'm not sure why some people can't differentiate between a crazy extremist terrorist and an ordinary person practicing an ancient religion. And not for nothing, but the citizens of Oklahoma City and Columbine and pretty much any poor, drug infested bullet ridden inner city neighborhood in America know all too well that Muslims haven't cornered the market on disaffected young men turning to violence as an outlet for the isolation and frustration they find in their hearts.


Thank you for your comments on my last post. I guess I forgot to mention three things that are relevant to why I feel unresolved on this issue: one, it really does feel like our family is unfinished; two, I turn 39 this summer and T turns 44 shortly after that (and given our modest troubles having Miss M, who knows what will happen this time. . .I don't feel like we have time to be dithering on this decision); and three, we are almost certainly moving to a country in the developing world once I finish my contract here. If I want to keep my job, that's where it will take us (and for now, we're working on the principle that having a job is better than not having one). The second and third factors are driving the decision more than I'd like. I continue to try to resolve my desire to family build at some point (but maybe not right now) with my aging eggs and my anticipated future professional foray into the developing world. It's a hard balance, and I know all too well that if we wait, it may simply become biologically impossible to build our family. If only it were possible to KNOW where the lines are.


Finally, we took Miss M to see the specialist. I might not have mentioned. . .our regular doctor (who is a GP and not a pediatrician) thinks that Miss M is just fine, but she is teeny tiny and he really wanted a second opinion on her growth. He referred us to a pediatric endocrinologist. The specialist spent a long time with us, asking a million questions and examining Miss M thoroughly. We truly have NO concerns about her, other than the fact she's so small. She was 50th percentile for height for a while, and is now at the bottom of the charts for that, too, in addition to being low in weight. She is incredibly active and doing very well developmentally. The specialist commented on how she was beyond where she should be, which is what our regular doctor says every time we see him. Anyway, given that she is exhibiting no signs of anything being amiss, but for her petite frame, the specialist thinks that she is fine. He thinks she may simply be destined to be small. However, he wants to check her again in four months to revisit the issue, as there is a small chance that she has a human growth hormone deficiency. He said that the tests are not so fabulous, and there is no down side to waiting it out at her age.

I really think she's fine. Her appetite is catching up, finally. She eats a wide array of foods, although not as much as I'd like, but we're working on it. But it did give me pause to listen to him. The numbers on her charts seemed to trouble him, although looking at them for the first time since we got here, it's clear to me they made some mistakes. One set of numbers has her not gaining weight for like 4 months, and I don't think that's accurate. But even if some of the interim measurements are wrong, there is no denying that she is small for her age. Sigh.


I'm sure there's more, but that's a long one, and it is late here.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Maybe You Shouldn't Contemplate the Future While Watching Supernanny

I think up blog posts while I'm running around during the day, but when I snatch a few minutes for myself after Miss M is in bed, all of the words fall out of my head. So, in lieu of posting I've been sitting here sorting through what I think about TTC #2, and watching Supernanny. Which probably is not the best combination in the world. It doesn't exactly inspire family-building, at least for me. The chaos! The noise! The biting and crying, whining and throwing! The incompetency! The horror! And apparently, on this episode, the drunkeness! (Really? On Supernanny?)

Every day, we have delightful moments with Miss M. I am loving every minute I spend with her. I would love, love, love for her to have a close sibling. I see her pure joy in engaging with other children, and I would love for her to have a sibling to share life with. I think it would be soooo amazing. In theory.

When I think about the practical reality, though, I pause. I am still exhausted at the idea of being pregnant again. I am exhausted by the idea of two toddlers running around, and I only have one. But seriously, it EXHAUSTS me to think of it.

(As an aside, can I tell you how much I enjoy the Kardashians? I have no idea why. They are the kind of television I normally detest. They are just so bad that they are good.)

Where was I? Oh yes, exhausted. Miss M still wakes up a fair amount at night, sometimes in huge sobbing fits where we can't wake her and it goes on and on, and I'm the only one who can comfort her. She's still in our bed, and I wake up a fair amount due to her tossing, turning and kicking. So, physically exhausted.

I feel like we are holding life together with safety pins and spackle right now. It all works, but just barely. We have a snippet of morning together, then I run off to work, then I run home, we have dinner, we play, we go to bed, rinse, lather, repeat. Weekends we lounge and play and do cool things as a family (that part totally rocks, by the way--especially in Europe--so many adventures!). There are bumps along the way, sure (that's what the spackle is for), but it works. I worry that adding another child into the routine will make it fall apart.

And there is a mental exhaustion that comes with pregnancy and early infanthood. I think this is the biggest thing. We'd adjust to the rest, and childhood is all too fleeting. But a huge thing for me is that I'm not there right now in that pregnancy and early infanthood phase, toughing out the sleeplessness and discomfort, and I guess I'm just not anxious to go back. I like where we are now. I'm really, really enjoying it. The idea of being enormously pregnant and trying to get myself around this city stresses me out. The idea of having a baby in a foreign country stresses me out. Labor stresses me out--and I had a really good one with Miss M! And then there's negotiating maternity leave and dealing with work and being without friends and family at a time when we'd need them most. . .eating carefully again. . .brestfeeding. . .pumping. . .and doing it all while also parenting a toddler.

It just feels overwhelming to me.

T keeps telling me that it will be fine, and we'll manage. He really wants another child (AT LEAST one more! He'd gladly have plural more.) And indeed, he's the one home with Miss M during the day, so he bears a lot of the burden.

I know it will all work out just fine. It will be a bit chaotic, but it will be fine. It just feels a bit like climbing a mountain right now. If I were able to, I'd probably happily give it another year, and then try. But I also feel like I can't do that, because the clock is ticking. I had thought back in August that we'd start trying again in April, but that's simply not happening. T thinks we should start trying in June. All of a sudden, that seems really soon. On the other hand, we are planning a romantic vacation for June (well, as romantic as can be expected with a toddler in tow), and it would be a lovely time to start trying. . .

Not that we even could starting trying right now, even if I could wrap my mind around it. I stopped nursing more than a month and a half ago (Two months ago? I've lost track.), but I still haven't had my period return. It's going to be kind of weird when it comes back. I haven't had it in literally two years. But I digress (again). . .

Well, I feel a bit better after watching Supernanny. Wow, that couple was a hot mess, and they had piles of children. If they can survive what I just watched, surely I can deal with just two? I guess I don't have to decide tonight. Soon, though. Sigh. Why wasn't I ready for kids sooner? Why couldn't I have had an easier time having #1? Why does time only march forward? Why do some choices have to feel so complicated?