Letter to My Little Lady: Rock and Rock and Rock to Sleep

You and me, tired at the end of a long day.
You and me, tired at the end of a long day.

Dear Little Fish,

I just finished putting you to bed. This is how it usually goes down: I hold you while you drink some milk, and your dad reads a few books. When he’s finished with the last book, he leaves and you and I sit together on your glider. It’s been this way since you were eight weeks old. That’s pretty much forever in your world.

As you get older, the routine has changed a bit. You drink out of a cup now instead of a bottle. You’re almost too big to lie in my arms like a baby. Almost. Your newest ritual is requesting that your dad and I kiss. You push his face towards mine and say, “Mama,” until he leans over and gives me a smooch.

The younger you used to nod off in my arms as we rocked. Now, we sing together. “Mama, shing,” you say. You’re very particular about the song. Sometimes you ask me to switch songs at a rapid pace, like I’m flipping a radio dial. Other times we’ll sing the same song over and over again. You don’t know all, or even most, of the words, but you like to experiment with tune.

There’s a book we often read called The Going to Bed Book. It’s a silly story about big-eyed animals in pajamas, but the closing lines are lovely: The moon is high. The sea is deep. They rock and rock and rock to sleep.

The moon is in the sky. The sea is calm and gentle. Everything is just as it should be. This is exactly how I feel in these dark moments with you—all is peaceful, all is well.

Soon, you will be too big for me to cradle you. In another year or two, you’ll outgrow the glider all together. Someday, further still, you’ll set out on your own. You’ll trek through jungles or sail across oceans, and the place where you fall asleep will likely be many miles away from me.

No matter where you lay your head, I hope you always feel safe. I hope you feel just as content as you did tonight, with your kisses and your blankie and your cup of milk. The gentle waves, the silvery moonlight—they will always be there for you. All you have to do is close your eyes.


Love in the Time of Miscarriage

It’s 8:24 a.m. Tim and I sit in our car in the hospital parking garage. Outside, the September sky is a cloudless blue. The temperature is mild. It’s a perfect day in Philadelphia.

The garage is warm and dirty and dark. There are tire marks on every wall. Even still, it’s better than out there, with all its sun and all its blue. It’s better than watching people walk to work like they do every day, as if this day is no different than any other.

There is no spoken agreement to stay in the car, but neither of us makes a move. We’re listening to a country cover of Coldplay’s “Fix You.” I watch the dial on the dash clock. Even though I do not want to get where I’m going, the thought of being late still makes me anxious.

After all, I have places to be. In six minutes, I’m due to check in for a D & C procedure.

Tim sits at one end of the car and I sit at the other, my shoulder and face pressed against the glass. Through the speaker, Carrie Underwood croons.

Tears stream down your face
When you lose something you cannot replace

I move away from the window. Tim puts his arm around me and I lean my head on his shoulder, like we are two kids in love at the movie theater. Except this is not a movie, and if it was, no one would ever want to watch it. I realize I’m crying, I think for the first time since we found out our baby would no longer grow. I can’t see or hear Tim, but I know he’s crying, too. This is it: goodbye. Once we leave the car, there’s no going back.

And right there, in the saddest moment we’ve shared, I feel it—a fluttery brush of sweetness, a tiny coil of peace. We are going, and we don’t like it, but we are going together.

So we go. The song ends and we step out of the car. The humid air rises around us. The elevator sounds its oblivious chime. Tim is holding my hand, and I’m thinking, Oh, how I love you—deeper, wider, still.

Hope, Round 2

Mom, go get me another baby!
Mom, go get me another baby!

Last week Tim and I went to see a fertility specialist.

Is anyone getting déjà vu here? Yeah, me too. Looks like I have come full circle, arriving at the exact point where I began this blog two-and-a-half years ago.

Except it’s not really the exact point. A mom died, a baby was miscarried and I welcomed a little girl into the world. Things have definitely changed.

But I digress. Since the miscarriage I’ve been having some cycle weirdness. (I originally went into more detail here, but Tim was like, “Whoa, dude, that is waaaaay too much information.”) It’s been six months since the miscarriage, so I figured I better get myself checked out.

We saw the same doctor as last time. She was equally lovely this time. The first thing she said when we walked in the room was, “You guys look like you’re aging backwards.”

After exclaiming, “aw, shucks,” I explained the situation with my bod. She said my problem was probably due to progesterone. The short explanation is that if the body doesn’t make enough progesterone when it’s supposed to, it can’t sustain a pregnancy. The doctor sent me home with a prescription for progesterone supplements and told us to come back in two months. If Lettie’s sibling has not been conceived by then, we’ll start fertility testing.

I left the appointment feeling pretty good. The doctor didn’t seem worried, so neither was I. Gradually, though, the anxiety crept in. What if I have premature ovarian failure? What if I have endometriosis? This quickly spiraled into, holy crap, I have to wait two months to find out any of this? Are you kidding me?

In January, I visited a tarot card reader. She told me, among other things, that I wasn’t going to get pregnant at all in 2014. Awesome, lady. Thanks. She said that instead of focusing on expanding my family, I should focus on sinking into the life I have now. I think sinking in is great advice, for me or for anyone. I love my life. I want to enjoy every second of it. And I certainly don’t want to pass up the good I have in front of me because I’m busy stressing out about possible futures. That’s just dumb.

But I also know that I’m not going to stop wishing for our fourth family member. Because I want Lettie to know the love of a sibling. Because I have a big ole heart with so much more love to give.

I need to find a balance.

The truth is, I’m finding it harder to feel positive this time. I’m older than I was the last time around.  Everything in the fertility world takes time, and that’s the one thing I feel like I don’t have enough of. I know I still have a few more years until my fertility technically plummets, but it’s already been almost a year since we first began trying for baby number two. I blinked and that time went poof.

I’m going to do my best to cool my jets, though. I’m walking proof that everything happens when it’s supposed to. I met Tim six weeks before my mom was first diagnosed with cancer. I gave birth to Colette three weeks before my mom died. I was magically given the greatest gifts of my life just when I needed them most. I’m not trying to say that I need to wait for a tragedy to have another baby. Let’s pretty please hope that is not the case (Okay, universe? Okay?!). I’m just trying to say that I need to chill the eff out and have faith.

So here’s the plan: Take a deep breath.

Sink into my life just as it is now.

Believe that everything will unfold exactly as it’s meant to.