Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Keep Holding On

This one's for all of you who are still waiting out there tonight. The other day I happened to open up one of my old journals from our infertility days, and this is an exert from one of the many pages I wrote during that time:

January 11, 2007 - 12:29 p.m.

"I'm still not sure where I'm going - where my path will lead. I'm feeling pretty unsettled lately and I've been doing a lot of thinking. Last night I dreamt lucidly. I've been reading the little book Dad gave me about how to design your dreams. I went to sleep with the question of my life dangling on the edges--'when am I going to have a baby?' Then, though I don't remember the specifics of my dream, I woke up with the song, Keep Holding On by Avril Lavigne in my head. And so I will. The part that was playing in my head as I woke up goes:

Keep holding on
you know we'll make it through, we'll make it through
Just stay strong
you know I'm here for you, I'm here for you.

Sometimes I can't help but be amazed by the way my mind works. I know my dreams are somewhat generated by my daily existence, but that song immediately struck a chord with me the first time I heard it, and it's given me a lot of comfort as we've been dealing with infertility. I feel almost as though that message is coming from somewhere else--some other, higher place that knows music is one language to which I am highly in tune. Anyway, all I know is that I have a lighter step today than I have in a while, and it feels good.

~MSL, age 31

So...maybe my message can give you some comfort too? I had a conversation with a friend tonight, another adoptive mom, about how adoption doesn't fix infertility or heal all the pain, and how some of that is always and inevitably ingrained within us after the long, hard battle of infertility. That really made me think, and sort of put me back in that place of how hard it is to keep holding on. I hope you all know that you're not alone, and that I haven't forgotten how hard infertility is, or how hard waiting is. Even when you're down and out, and you feel like you can't take another day...keep holding on!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Blogland...we have a five-month-old!

Yes, it's true...Baby Charlie is five months old today! I feel like I constantly lament about how quickly the time is flying by, so I'm not even going to go there!

Look at his big smile!

The last five months of my life have been such a fabulous whirlwind, it's unbelievable. This truly has been the time of my life! When I think about where I was back then, it's hard to put into words how this child has transformed us. He is such a joyful baby, even at his worst. Sometimes I can't even believe I'm the lucky one who gets to be his mommy.

Seriously...what a gorgeous baby!

Charlie has become quite inquisitive these last few weeks. He looks around at all the new (and old) places we go, and takes it all in. He's gotten very good at holding objects in his hand, and he turns and reaches for things that pique his interest now. He's intrigued by textures, and he will scratch or rub things that are different from what he's used to.

His latest fascination is his feet, which is the cutest thing ever. Any time I sit him down, he grabs them and won't let go. Sometimes he tries to get his face down to his feet instead of bringing his feet up to his face, at which point the inevitable face plant ensues. I'm sure he will master the fine art of foot-tasting soon. :)

Speaking of sitting him down, we have a very social butterfly baby who absolutely loves to be held, and to be where the action is. He will play with his toys for a few minutes, but that doesn't last long, especially when he knows other things are going on. Luckily for him, I always tell him we're the perfect pair because I love to hold him as much as he loves to be held. :)

Other than that, nothing much has changed. We still have no teeth in sight, but he chews voraciously on everything, and he drools non-stop. I'm hopeful some teeth will show up soon. I dearly love watching this little man grow, change, and make sense of his world, and I can't wait for what the next month brings!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Bad Blogger

Do they make an award for that? Because if so, I need one! Lately I've been really bad at commenting, and even worse at thinking of anything at all to write about.

I guess I'm a little burned out, or a little overwhelmed, or both...I don't know.

Things with Charlie are going well. He seems to be adjusting very well to me being gone a couple of days a week. He's always been Mr. Laid Back Baby, and the trend continues. That, coupled with the fact that we have an amazing caregiver who is doing this primarily because she loves babies has made my transition pretty smooth.

Still, I'd be lying if I told you that I'm not overwhelmed by the demands of being both full-time Mommy (the best job of all!) and full-time student. My brain simply isn't where it used to be, and that's showing up in my lack of organization and lack of ability to focus on what I need to be doing. My hat sincerely goes off to anyone who has walked this road before me. And to all you working moms out there...I never thought the balancing act was easy, but neither did I realize it was this hard, wow! I know that I will get back into the swing of things, and figure out what my new normal needs to be so that I can succeed at both of my jobs, but it's taking more time than I would like.

And speaking of jobs, that's the other thing that's been dragging me down. This is the first semester in a long time that I haven't been working at least part time, and the lack of income is getting to both of us. Any and all "extras" have now been completely eliminated, and we're down to figuring out how we can eat as cheaply as possible. Putting it in perspective, I know we are still extremely fortunate. We have a home, food, clothing, we are FINE. And I have this gift of precious, uninterrupted time with our son that I will cherish once he's older. I know I will look back on these times and be so very thankful that I was able to be with him as much as I am. Still, it's hard to be stretched so thin, and Michael and I are both feeling the squeeze.

I know I'm about to sound a little crazy, but we recently switched Charlie over to the generic version of formula, and it's really bugging me. The top of the En.famil container even says, "Because it's YOUR Baby!" Now if that's not an effective marketing ploy then I don't know what is! I KNOW he is fine, and I KNOW the comparisons are pretty equitable. I even asked the doctor if he would feed this stuff to his kids and he said yes. So what's my problem? Why do I still have this hang-up that we're somehow doing less than we should for our baby because we're not feeding him the name-brand formula? I guess part of the reason I feel this way is because this food is ALL he eats. But then when I look at the difference in price, and I look at our budget...I simply can't justify that extra expense for a name any longer.

The bottom line is hat it is what it is. All of this "stuff" with which I'm struggling simply is what it is. I'm doing what I have to do for our future, and we are going to have to scrimp and save and stretch for the next two years. This is our reality and there's not much I can do to change that. I guess now that we have Charlie, I'm a little afraid of being too negative, or complaining too much, both in real life, and here in blogland. I know things could be so much worse, and I never want to come off as though I'm taking our good fortune for granted. I'm finding, lately, that I've resorted to the old, "If you don't have anything nice to say don't say anything at all" adage from my childhood. There is some goodness to that way of thinking, but it also means I'm nto really being real, and not really being honest...which is one of the reasons I started blogging in the first place.

So there you have it. That's where I've been lately, and those are the wheels that are turning inside my head. Feel free to begin throwing rotten tomatoes now.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

First Big Day Away

I put Charlie to bed tonight at 7:30, and it's likely I won't see him awake again until about that same time Friday morning. Over 24 hours without seeing my baby smile or snuggling him close, yuck!! It's entirely possible that I may decide to be selfish and wake him up in the morning so I can have at least a few minutes, but we'll see what happens with that. He really doesn't like being woken up, and I don't want his first long day without me to be bad.

Since one of my classes is hybrid and won't meet on campus every week, my schedule isn't as daunting as I initially thought it was going to be. Still, even having days like this once a month is going to be hard for me, and I'm also worried about how I'm going to continue to be the kind of student I have been now that my priorities have completely shifted.

I do have to remind myself that it could be much worse. He will be safe, happy and well-loved while I'm gone, which is a tremendous blessing. AND...he's here, which is so much better than waiting was! I haven't forgotten how hard that was, but I also didn't quite anticipate how hard this balancing act was going to be.

This semester is going to be a big adjustment for me and I hope it goes well...wish me luck!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Charlie & Daddy

Here's a little video love to brighten your day. The quality isn't great because the room was too dark, but this giggle would cheer me up even if he wasn't my son!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Joy and Sorrow

Wow, what a week it's been in blogland! This adoption stuff can be one heck of a crazy roller coaster at times. Tonight I'm feeling a little melancholy. I've been absolutely elated for E, with the wonderful news of her recent match, and that great news came on the heels of good news for RB too.

But then, as is always a risk with this journey, RB got the news we all dread: a failed match. And worse yet, this is the second time they have had to go through this turmoil. Somehow that just doesn't seem fair to me. I just feel so heavy and sad for her, and I can't even imagine the magnitude of her pain.

Then there's Kel, who is waiting for news right now, and who waits so patiently in general. She has had a rather tumultuous few weeks with lots of adoption drama going on, and my heart goes out to her. Ashley also wrote a beautiful post about the journey she has been through this past year, going from thinking she was going to lose her son to the realization that he was going to be placed with them after all. What a beautiful story and heartwarming post!

Then there are also recent posts from Sarah and Jessie, both of whom are dealing with the loss of their mothers, amongst many other challenges. Both of these women seem incredibly strong to me, and they remind me that every day is special, and that bitching about the insignificant stuff in life is truly a waste of time and energy.

I guess tonight I'm just feeling unsettled. There has been tremendous joy and sorrow all in this one week, and it's left me feeling really emotional. I'm definitely counting my blessings, and saying a lot of prayers (both of thanks, and for healing) for all of you out there. Honestly when I started blogging, it was for me. Well...for me, and for my family so they could follow our journey. Now it's so much more than that. I still tell our story, and I blog for Charlie now too...but I LOVE the connections that have happened here. I feel as though I know so many of you on a truly personal level, and that is pretty cool considering the distances that lie between us.