Wednesday, July 21, 2010

And SO....

Fionn tries some break dancing at the NOAH party

We're back, and even three days later I'm not sure if we have recovered from the exhaustion of traveling. I have a head swimming with a 100 different posts on all that we saw and experienced, but before I get to that, I'll talk about the ominous thing that I didn't want to talk about in the last post. I apologize to those that I inadvertently alarmed, but I applaud your prolific imaginations!

Anyway, here it is:

I know I've posted this before, but look again closely. Here's a clue, that's not the wind lifting my shirt. It's not a beer belly. (If only I could drink beer - after 24 hours driving cross-country in a car, I've never needed a drink more in my life.)

It is a baby bump - an inordinately large baby bump at that.

We haven't mentioned our news sooner because 1) we wanted to wait until I hit the second trimester to be sure everything was at least mostly in the clear (that milestone came last weekend) and 2) we didn't want to make a big fuss. Not that we aren't excited, but let's face it, the first one is met with overwhelming joy, the second one is just expected, but by the time you hit the third, people start looking at you like you're the Duggars.

The people who see us on a regular basis learned about our secret several weeks ago since I was in maternity pants by six weeks along. Some people spent a lot of time glancing at my swelling belly until I finally cracked, the bolder people took one look at me and said, "Are you pregnant?!!"

Needless to say, with my speedy growth, I spent several weeks sweating about the possibility of twins (they run on both the maternal and paternal sides of my family). But a nine-week ultrasound revealed one, and only one, healthy heartbeat.

By now you may have some questions for us. Everyone does. So here's my fancy FAQs section:

Three kids? Are you insane?


When is the due date?

January 30, 2011

Are you finding out the gender? Are you finding out if it has albinism?

No and no. The first pregnancy I wanted to find out, so I promised Robbie we would keep the second pregnancy a secret. The second pregnancy I NEEDED to find out, so I REALLY promised Robbie we would keep the third pregnancy a secret. I honestly never thought we would have a third one. But here we are.

Seriously, though, I don't need to find out. I am 99.99% sure it's a boy and I've mentally prepared myself for that.

As for albinism, we're also expecting that this one will have albinism even though there is a 75% chance it won't. We know of families that have three in a row, so it is very possible. We could do genetic testing ahead of time, but it wouldn't change anything and I'd rather avoid being stuck with a giant needle.

Is it true that subsequent pregnancies are easier?

No, and if anyone tries to preach that as gospel, slap them - open-handed - across the face. This has been by far the hardest pregnancy.

If it's a boy, are you going to keep trying until you get a girl?

No, see answer above. Also, I won't have the energy for three boys much less four, five, six, etc.

Perhaps most importantly, we can barely squeeze a third into our lives as it is. A fourth or more would require a new car, a new house, and a new stroller configuration that I shudder to even imagine.

Did you give up on adoption?

As I said in that post, we had to give up on it considering the high costs. If we win the lottery or if a perfect situation were to present itself, we would still be ready and willing. In the meantime, we need to have our kids close together because I only have three years of school left and I'd rather stay home with them while I'm studying instead of getting my first career job and then pausing for maternity leave.

I still stand by the advice I blurt out, bleary-eyed and ragged, to any parent who's planning on future children: three or four years apart is good. Two years apart is bad. Real bad.

When it became clear that adoption wasn't going to work, it occurred to us that we still had the old-fashioned option. We both knew that we were guaranteed to get another boy, so our decision had to be based on that assumption. We thought...we debated...we changed our minds about a million times...and eventually it came down to one cliche fact: our family did not feel complete.

We decided to give it a go, thinking foolishly that perhaps it would take a few months and we'd have more time to REALLY think this over.

We got two lines the first month.

I know many people face loss and infertility, so I want to emphasize that we are completely, eternally grateful. When I think about our future life I finally feel that sense of wholeness. When the boys press their sticky mouths to my stomach and yell "Hello baby!!" - my heart fills to capacity.

And yet, I admit, there are times when Robbie and I lay in bed at night and one of us will whisper to the other:

"Do you realize we're going to have three children under the age of five? THREE We're not even 30 years old yet!"

"I know, what were we thinking?!"

There is a pause as we are simultaneously gripped by panic at the thought of going through the newborn phase, again, with two toddlers. Since we have stopped breathing, the only sounds are the cicadas chirping in the damp grass and Fionn softly snoring in the crib next to our bed.

"That reminds me, we gotta get this kid out of our bedroom in time for the next one."

"I know."

We eventually start breathing again.

"It's going to be OK. It's going to be good."

"I know."

Monday, July 12, 2010

Bad Blogger

OK, I've been called out on my absence by my three readers, so I will break all the blogging rules and create a post about why I'm not posting. Part of the problem is that the biggest issue in our lives right now - the thing jockeying for the most mental and physical space - is something I can't talk about. At least not for a little while.

The other part of the problem is that I had a personal epiphany in which I realized an important piece of my personality has gone missing. I'd like to blame it on my selfless devotion to motherhood and becoming consumed by my children, but I think you all know me well enough not to buy that. No, it's just one of those things I sort of lost along the path through adulthood. It's like that moment when you've been running errands for hours and you reach into your pocket or purse for your keys. Even before you've explored every crevice, you already know in your gut that they're gone - carelessly dropped somewhere or left behind on a counter. And now you've got to retrace your steps.

The reality of this scenario plays out in my life every other day, but metaphorically I'm still in the process of retracing my steps. I don't wish to inflict my navel-gazing on anyone else (more than I already do), so hence the silence.

The good news is that in just two days, we leave for our first-ever national albinism conference in Washington, D.C. Between our first major road trip with two kids and our first chance to see over 800 people affected by albinism in one place, I should have lots to write about soon.

In the meantime, here are a few pictures of our adventures so far. The summer has been streaking by, but it has been punctuated by some beautiful moments.

Bubble Hair:

Michigan Albinism Picnic at the Beach:

Love Blooms in the Garden:

My parents come to Michigan every year in the winter to babysit while I go to school, so for the first time they got a chance to come and just have fun in the good weather. We packed our schedule with all the best tourist destinations within a 4 hour drive.

Visiting Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes:

Historic Fishing Village in Leeland:

The beaches of Traverse City:

A former insane asylum turned into a shopping and restaurant mecca: