Friday, April 28, 2023

In the weeds

For years I took pride in not having fallen off the writing wagon, and tried to update with at least one post a month since the start of the blog. I didn't want mine to become one of those blogs that grew weeds and was rarely updated. But.... life happened. More specifically, life with some curveballs. 

My husband's mother passed away unexpectedly in February. In addition to processing his grief at losing his last living parent so suddenly, we were also tasked with some monumental hurdles such as cleaning out his childhood home, dealing with finances, and taking on the responsibility of another adult family member with special needs. 

It's been a very difficult road. We've relied heavily on extended family members to help us bridge the gaps in our ability and capacity. 

There have been some significant internal struggles as well. Knowing our kids will never get to know my husband's parents. How unfair it is that they waited so long for grandchildren and never really got to enjoy them. How unfair it was of his parents not to make any arrangements for their finances or the special needs family member, leaving it all to us to sort out and stress over. How traumatic its been to clean out someone else's 40+ years of accumulations in a house that could have been downsized years ago. Lot of guilt. Guilt at not being present for our kids while we deal with this. Guilt of what-ifs, had we done something different would things have turned out better? There's no way to know. The truth is that no one was in a place to receive feedback even if we had the wherewithal to provide it. Guilt about asking for help when we need it. Guilt for not being better prepared for this unprecedented situation. Not saying any of the guilt is justified; just stating that it's there.

So we move forward. We're trying to make the best of the situation, or at least keeping our head above water until we get some better footing. Trying to deal with several "#1 top" priorities simultaneously. 

I'm trying to make sure our kids don't feel the brunt of the stress. I'm also trying to keep routine as much as possible, and remembering to take the time to enjoy them every day. Between the ear infections, coughs, other doctor appointments, filling out forms for childcare and camp, packing lunches and washing bottles, endless questions, tantrums, and constant laundry, there is so much love these little beings bring into our life. 

The conversation of transferring our last embryo has taken a semi-permanent back seat until things settle a little more. We're not on the same page about it, but there's no point in bringing it up when we're operating at maximum stress levels. So the conversation waits while the lil guy chills on ice for the time being.

Friday, January 20, 2023

Happy January

It's been so long that I forgot my password. I started writing this a week ago and then got side tracked and logged out again.  It's 90% freeform brain dump so there may be some inconsistencies, typos, and mild chaos. Let's go.

Winter break was adventurous. Daycare and school were closed so we had everyone home for a stretch of time. I thought it might be a good idea to take a trip using points for a couple of nights, just for a change of scenery. We were among those passengers affected by the Southwest fiasco when our flight was canceled and we were stuck out of town. Our "free" trip ended up costing a whole lot but I hope we'll get it back from Southwest. Luckily we were staying with family and weren't stranded but it was the four of us in one room and the unknown of when we're getting home was stressful. We also had some crazy weather that resulted in fallen branches, downed live wires, broken fence, and a power outage for several days. The only thing I tried to save was my very small stash of frozen milk at neighbors and the rest had to get tossed. Now to deal with the cleanup, insurance, and follow up. Adult things.

Even with the flight hiccups, I would still fly Southwest. It was our first trip ever traveling with kids and we learned a lot. Kids under two can technically ride for free as a lap child but there are so many barriers to that so it makes sense to pay for the seat if you can afford it. Flying over the holidays was mayhem. Flying after a storm was chaos because all the delayed flights were trying to also get out. Unless your lap kid is under a month old, it's hard to have them sitting and comfortable for the whole plane ride. They need a seat. A stroller in the airport is key. A double stroller in the airport is a nightmare. Travel light - buy whatever you can at your destination. If you're checking a suitcase, assume it won't arrive so you can plan accordingly, and then be pleasantly surprised if it does. Keep all the things you need for the kids in one bag, stored under the seat in front of you instead of overhead.

I'm trying to figure out how to plan a trip for passover or the summer or something. I completely understand the feeling of wanting to "get away" but I'm not looking to run away from my family - I'm trying to figure out the logistics of taking them with me, as hard as it is to travel with babies. I just need a change of scenery from the routine. I thrive on predictability and I'm pretty sure most people appreciate routine, but sometimes you just need to change it up a bit. Only a bit - too much and it's overwhelming and chaotic and I want to go home. 

I tried to find a way to get more fitness in my day. I even rented a peloton to try it out. I used it once before we all got violently ill with a stomach virus which knocked me out for a week. Then it was winter break. Then it was other things. Long story short I've returned the bike. My comfort zone is walking outside, specifically with a stroller. During the height of the pandemic I set a goal to walk at least half an hour daily just to get outside and get some air. The weather is still too cold to do that and I don't want to wait until spring to start. But it's also not my main issue - it's exhaustion. I'm still in the stage where if it's quiet I just go to sleep. I don't have time for hobbies; I don't prioritize chores; I rarely socialize and when I do it's incredibly planned out. When it's quiet it's time to sleep. Even a short nap makes a difference. Some nights the kids are in bed by 7:30 and I'm asleep by 7:40. When they wake up at random intervals at night, obviously not overlapped because that would be too convenient, I take whatever sleep I can get whenever I can get it. Then coffee. Then pastries because who can think clearly to make good food choices when tired. Then exhaustion. Then repeat. So when I feel like when I can get at least six uninterrupted heavenly hours of sleep in a row, that's when I'll be able to schedule in workouts too. I'll even take four in a row. 

Whenever I think of the exhaustion and this particular phase of life, I start thinking about a third and how that could ever fit in. I've never before been so conflicted about something as I am about this and as a decisive person that is an unsettling feeling. My age, my health, my sanity, my bank account are all factors. In my heart I know I'd love more but does that do justice to the ones I already have. Can I really take on more? If we have another embryo in the freezer, how can we not transfer it? Transferring doesn't equate baby so we need to be prepared for either outcome. We need to be prepared mentally, emotionally, financially, to expand the family again. If I could go back to my 2016 self and explain that it will be a rocky road along the way, but that I'll be contemplating this in 2023, I'm not sure I'd have believed it. I've gone up and down in my pros and cons about a third and every time I start spiraling down the what-if's I add more to that blog post and try to put it away. My baby is growing up so fast and I want to enjoy this time with him. There will be time to revisit this and decide somewhere down the line but in the meantime, I'll enjoy the kids as they are now and try to remember to take deep breaths every so often. 

Parenting is an incredible joy and I feel so incredibly blessed. So so thankful that we're at this point. Even with the chaos of trying to keep up with the laundry and dishes and bags to pack and lunches and pumping and sweeping so much cheerios off the floor and and worrying and appointments and more cheerios on the floor and I'm so tired and wrangling a tiny octopus into a onsie that he absolutely abhors because who needs clothes even when it's freezing outside and endless buckling in and out of carseats and drop offs and pickups and so many bottles to wash and omg is the dishwasher broken again and please finish your food before you start negotiating for more screentime and why is there cheerios on the floor I just cleaned here and cute videos circulating to the family and they're sleeping and I miss them. 

This is what I prayed for. As hard and draining as it is, it's a phase that I know I'll miss once they're grown up and don't need me as much. I'll have time for toes in the sand later. Right now I have to sweep some cheerios and enjoy some tiny toes that refuse to stay socked.

Thursday, December 8, 2022


It feels like we never settled into a new groove since the newest addition to our family joined in May. Between one virus after another, being unable to get any help due to these illnesses, and the severe sleep deprivation that has settled into a semi-permanent brain fog, I'm not feeling like myself. 

The rise in anti-semitism is scary and mentally draining. The threat feels real and ever present. 

On top of that I'm feeling a lot of financial pressure. I know we've been hearing about "inflation" and "rising costs" as buzz words in news snippets whenever I can catch them or on social media posts, but I didn't realize how much it affects us until I saw a trend in the grocery shopping. I still do most of my shopping on an app and then pick up. It not only helps me stick to a list but I save an hour or two of walking around the store. I usually buy the same items so I can easily add them to my cart in the middle of a meeting or late night feeding and fit it into my day somehow. But that means I can also easily see the price increases over the past few months and it's insane. We're not buying exotic food. Eggs, milk, cheese, fruit, and vegetables.... all skyrocketed. I'm not even buying that much. The 5 lb bag of flour is now at $6.59 -- what? Switching brands immediately. There's the option to shop around and buy the cheapest things in different stores but I'm barely holding it together so I don't know if I can handle trying to add that to my mental load. 

It keeps bringing up the idea that I need to come up with more income. We're not spenders so it's not a question of pinching somewhere. Either me or my husband or both of us need to bring in more money. It's a scary economy right now and I'm worried about leaving stable work. On the other hand I shouldn't have to transfer money from savings just to be able to afford milk or formula for my babies. Yes, formula. I'm still pumping but the use of decongestants over the summer tanked my supply and I'm stuck underproducing. That story has its own baggage of stress.

I've also been stressing out about the exorbitant cost of summer childcare. Daycare in general is so expensive but for some reason reliable, licensed, good care over the summer months is even more expensive. I'm looking at nearly $7,000 for both of them for only eight weeks and it doesn't even cover the gap weeks between school and camp. Not only is it so much money, but these programs also want you to pay in full months in advance to hold the spot. Another dip into savings??

I considered maybe traveling for part of the summer by maybe cobbling together something with points and credit card miles and stay with family. It will still cost a lot and we don't have the paid time off of work but that might be a wash considering the alternative. I want to make it work because I love the idea of taking my babies to see the world. I'm not sure if it's the financially responsible choice though.

I think the first step is to get more than 45 min of sleep. The world looks different on the other side of a good rest. I know this is a season. I know we'll get past it. I know we'll figure it all out. I just don't know the path from where we are now to where we want to be. I hear memes mention adultier adults and I feel like that's what I'm looking for - just someone to help me out of the plateau I seem to be stuck in and help me help myself. Or someone to write a check for a lot of money and tuck me in for a long nap.

Wednesday, November 16, 2022


The other morning I got a message from my fertility clinic. It was an email blast sent to everyone (I guess they don't filter out inactive or past patients) about the upcoming schedule around the holidays and end of year. They're letting people know last date to start any IVF cycle before the lab closes for its annual maintenance and cleaning. 

There's a strange feeling about seeing a reminder for something that used to take up so much mental capacity in the past. There used to be anxiety related to memories of the days when we were in the height of fertility treatment, where recalling details would bring on fresh waves of pain of loss and hopelessness. 

Now, under the fog of sleepless nights for the best possible reasons and the most exhausting mental juggle that is parenthood, getting that reminder brings some comfort. And relief. And renewed sense of appreciation for the helpers that got us to this point.

What a world of difference. As overwhelmed or frustrated as I get sometimes at the lack of personal space and time these days, I'm feeling incredibly grateful for what does fill up my mental capacity these days.

Saturday, October 15, 2022


 We're talking about how it's ridiculous that the toddler isn't yet potty trained. We've tried it before (twice) and for various reasons it didn't stick. We know it's up to us to drive this wagon because he's comfortable and sees no reason to make a change. 

But it's been a time. We tried at winter break last year when I was in my second trimester. He was withholding at school so they said it was too much pressure and reassured me that he'll for sure catch on before I have the baby. Well.

Had the baby in May and since then it's been one thing after another. Ear infections. Bronchitis. Pneumonia. Whole family got covid. Then baby got RSV. Then toddler got a stomach bug. What in the world. We haven't had a full work week in months. 

I've been exhausted. My husband is exhausted. We're mentally drained. When are we supposed to also add the stress and pressure of getting a toddler  - who is lukewarm about participating, at best - to use the toilet. He's not motivated by food prizes. Stickers are not interesting. He's too smart to get bribed. I don't have the energy for it. I know it needs to happen. Just like we need to move him from a crib to a bed. I know. We don't want him to be the weirdo first grader who's still in a crib because his parents were too lazy, I get it. 

This is something we think about when we contemplate having any more. They say it's rough in the beginning, and that's true. I just want my babies to be happy and healthy. That's my wish for everyone this coming year. My goal is to have him toilet trained and in a bed by Thanksgiving. Wish me luck.

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Rosh Hashanah 5783

My husband went to an earlier service on his own and then we went together to our regular synagogue as a family. We unlocked several new parenting levels, such as navigating the streets with our first double stroller and sending our toddler to the drop-off children's programming. It was fabulous. I wore the baby in services while he slept then went off to a side room to feed him before handing him off to my husband until services were done. The first day worked out better with timing and naps.

It was a lot - the shlepping, the juggling, the coordinating, being "on" and dressed for multiple hours at a time. It was exhausting but nice to be with people again. There were a few masks in shul but the majority of people weren't masked. It didn't feel weird to be in a crowd without a mask. Having the family recently recovered from covid was a big factor in why we were comfortable going to and being in shul. I'm glad I got a chance to be in services this year. 

At a point in davening I cried. It was the same point where in past years I pleaded for that to be the year we would be successful in our fertility treatments. The melody of the prayers transported me right back to that headspace of all those years, and this year I felt an overwhelming amount of gratitude commingled with all those emotions. 

I hope that we can get our act together enough to start hosting people for holiday meals again. It's a big part of the social glue in our world so it felt like a piece was missing. Overall it was a beautiful holiday. 

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Covid +

About 900 days after the world shut down for a global pandemic, the coronavirus got us. My toddler's teacher tested positive on day 2 of school. My family got it and it got spread to my whole team at work.

One day I was feeling extra tired and run down and thought it was just the lack of sleep from waking with the baby. In the morning I had a scratchy throat and by evening my throat was on fire and I was coughing up thick mucus and having trouble catching my breath. I knew immediately it was different than a regular cold because of how quickly the symptoms progressed. I tested myself and it came up positive immediately. I tested the rest of the family and the toddler was also immediately positive, with negatives for the baby and my husband. 

At first my husband and I masked - me to protect my baby who was negative; my husband to protect himself from the toddler. Within days my husband also tested positive and got all my symptoms and more. Once there were three positives we stopped masking, not only because it felt pointless but also because it was really hard to breathe in the masks. We went down hard. Fatigue, dizziness, coughing, sore throat, GI issues, nausea, and more. There was a day I couldn't get my head off the pillow. Two days after that my husband couldn't move. The toddler sneezed about four times and that was it - basically asymptomatic. The baby showed symptoms last with some runny nose, slight cough, and a sad little low-energy cry, which improved within a few days. We were isolated for five days and it was very difficult taking care of the kids while we were both not feeling well, especially so since the toddler had his regular amount of energy and couldn't understand why he wasn't allowed to play with friends. We couldn't get any help because we were all positive and symptomatic. Since it happened to be over the holiday weekend, the toddler ended up only losing two days of school. On day 6 he was allowed to go back because he had no symptoms and was able to keep a mask on until day 10. The baby couldn't mask and so couldn't go back to daycare until after his ten days were done. We had to shuffle around childcare between the two of us and trying to get back to work while feeling sluggish and out of it. 

I still have a sore throat and don't feel like myself yet. Brain fog is no joke. My husband is still a few days behind me in recovery and slowly starting to get better. It's been an interesting experience going through it with my whole office (all first timers) - sharing war stories and comparing symptoms. We all had varying degrees of it and it's so strange that we all got the same thing. I consulted our pediatrician and a pulmonologist who both recommended the vaccine for our toddler even though he got it, even though it was mild. The reasoning is that the immunity he has now is unreliable and unpredictable and so the best protection is to get vaccinated. I wasn't delaying it; we were scheduled to get him vaccinated three times over the summer and each time it got pushed off due to another virus. I honestly thought that this far into the pandemic maybe I was immune or had gotten it previously asymptomatically and was kind of surprised it got to me. 

For the most part, I feel extremely lucky. I spent the better part of the past two and a half years trying to protect my child and then newborn from this virus. Knowing that "kids get it mild" but always worrying about those rare cases that get hospitalized kept us from so many things. On one hand I felt like I dropped the ball. I tried to protect him and I failed. On the other hand, it was a rubber ball: he got it and he was fine. There was definitely a moment of relief. I plan to enjoy this small window of time when we all have some natural immunity. 


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