Thursday, December 31, 2020

The year 2020

 This is the year that historians and scientists and journalists will be talking about for years to come. The things that happened, the words that changed their meaning: pivot, pod, bubble. Even the words that were so overused that meaning started to blur: unprecedented, abundance of caution, mute. It's still 2020. We're still living in that year. 

I'm sure there are lots of articles and news stories and tiktoks summing up the year. I'll leave that to the professionals who will likely do a more comprehensive job than I can. Here's the year I'll remember. This was a very difficult year. We shed all the externals of every day life down the bare skeleton of our existence. What's important? What's essential? 

"Extras" like restaurants and concerts and sports and museums get togethers with friends and family were shut down. But are they extras? Or are they the reason that make the daily grind bearable? We got on our screens every day to work, to socialize, to veg out, to shop, to pay bills. We held the people in our household close because they were the only ones we could hold during a time when we needed others the most. We've lost so many people that we've gotten numb to the numbers. But they're not just numbers. 

And it's not over. Just because the calendar year is flipping doesn't mean there's a switch to the virus being turned off. The opposite is true: hospitals are at capacity, health workers are exhausted, the virus mutated and is spreading more rapidly, vaccine rollout is going excruciatingly slow in the US, and another surge is expected post-holidays after millions of Americans traveled against all the experts pleas to stay home. The darkest days of the virus are still ahead.

Beyond that, though, is hopefully a light. A turn. A change. We have to believe there's an end to the darkness. I have to believe there's hope. It's how I'm wired; it's what got me through the miscarriages and RPL and 7 failed IVF cycles. So I'll join the people showing gratitude for some parts of 2020 and what I'm with leaving behind. 

I'm so grateful to have been home with our son. Between maternity leave and the shutdown he was in daycare for all of 11 weeks. I learned something about myself I never would have known without this opportunity: no matter how I envisioned my life I never thought that being a stay at home mom was for me. I didn't know how much I'd enjoy it. I bet I'd enjoy it even more if we could do things like music class and going to the library and the aquarium and the grocery store or playdates with other moms. 

I don't take for granted that our jobs were able to convert to online work. I recognize that so many people didn't have that option and are truly suffering. As bad as my anxiety and financial insecurity felt throughout the year, I know there are people who are struggling to make ends meet and I'm grateful for the programs and organizations that helped when I felt helpless watching the news about people struggling.

There are some things that had accumulated in our pre-pandemic daily lives that we just kept around, similar to that box of stuff you don't feel like sorting and leave packed in storage but bring with you whenever you move to a new house. Here are a few things I'm ok leaving behind.

- office gossip. Gossip in general but I felt like my office was the majority of where I spent time. It felt like the social lubricant that kept people close. That may be true in some ways but when the pandemic hit, we weren't in the office anymore. In the absence of being in close quarters, we naturally limited our interactions to work-related conversations. It felt really freeing. I don't like being part of drama but I like being in the know. I'm rarely in the know now and I'm ok with it. It made me realize what's important to me. It also clarified to me that I'm ready for a new job. Once all the perks were gone I realized that the pieces holding me there were few and not at all worth it. I'm ready for a new challenge and I hope people start hiring in 2021.

- being aloof. I'm cynical and it takes me time to warm up to people. I will continue to work on my trait of making snap judgements about people. While I'm far from becoming the type that offers free hugs to strangers in the park, I think I need to learn to be more open and trusting.

- fomo. I think there will be a lot of opportunities coming up in the months after the pandemic is over. My goal is to say Yes to things I can join and stop feeling left out of life. It's up to me to create my own happiness. Happiness is a choice and takes work but it is within our control.

I'm sure more will come up and I'll add to the list. Regardless of what this year took from us, I want to try to come out of it a better person. 

Best wishes to you and yours for a happy, healthy, and safe 2021.

Monday, December 21, 2020

But wait...

 After several rounds of labs and telehealth appointments, I've been medically cleared from my endocrinologist and pcp. My TSH came back in the 2s even though I haven't been on medication for over a year. If I get pregnant I'll follow up with my endocrinologist to find out if anything needs to be adjusted. My liver enzymes are still slightly elevated but stable so my pcp recommended continued exercise and weight loss but no restrictions otherwise. All bloodwork from my RE came back fine. The next step is to get an ultrasound and biopsy before transferring. But... in true #2020 fashion we were hit some upsetting news. 

Our insurance will not cover any part of treatment. Apparently the company decided to go through PROGYNY for all infertility related treatment and the clinic needs to be in network in order to qualify for benefits. My clinic doesn't participate in PROGYNY which means that absolutely nothing is covered. The real kick in the balls is that my former clinic, the one ran away from after 7 failed IVFs and recurrent losses they chalked up to "unexplained infertility" is in network. 

I'm not sure what we'll do. We need to figure things out. The FET and medication can cost about $10,000. But money shouldn't be a reason people don't have kids right? I would sell my house before giving up because of money. Or maybe slightly less responsible things like putting it on a cc or dipping into retirement. I guess things are on hold while we process this. 

Thursday, December 3, 2020


We started the conversation about considering trying again. In a nutshell, there is a lot to consider and I'll try to unpack it here. 


Having a baby is expensive. Doing treatment to have a baby is very expensive before the baby even arrives. I estimated that between the hospital bills, celebration, setting up the nursery, and getting all the gear we spent nearly ten grand. That doesn't even include all the money spent trying. Obviously a lot of items will not need to be bought again (stroller, furniture, etc) and any celebration will be a much smaller affair, if not entirely on zoom. Even so, we still need to factor in potential hospital bills and fertility medication costs. This is before we factor in the monstrosity that is daycare costs for infants under two or the debt we're paying down for replacing the roof last year. 


My weight is back to where it was before we transferred. I gained 27 lbs during the pregnancy, lost 20 by 6 weeks pp. During the early months of the pandemic I gained an additional 15 lbs - I can blame it on nursing or stress or lack of sleep but it was probably a combination of all of them . I'd like to continue losing weight and focus on healthy eating and exercising. Over the summer I got some labwork done with my pcp for my annual physical that was nearly a year overdue and got some results we're monitoring. One of the liver numbers was high. She said fatty liver can be caused by pregnancy and breastfeeding so she wanted me to retest several months after stopping to breastfeed. I was originally planning to stop breastfeeding around the one year mark but weening has been going slow. I just don't think we were both ready. We're down to twice a day for a few minutes and slowly decreasing. Either way, I messaged my pcp asking about following up and the recommendation was to get blood work and see where the numbers are at. 

Nearly a year ago I stopped taking thyroid medication per my endocrinologist's recommendation. I was about 8 weeks post partum when I realized my refill was out and I hadn't been on the medication for nearly a month. My levels were tested and since they came back within the normal range she recommended staying off of the meds until we can reevaluate at my March appointment. Then covid happened and that appointment never did. The fertility clinic used to recommend seeing a TSH under 2 for pregnancy but now that level has been updated to under 4.5. 


Fertility treatment is a roller coaster. It's an exhausting and draining process. Even assuming best case scenario of successfully getting pregnant, the first weeks are rough and we have no support in terms of childcare or cleaning or whatever. It would be all on the two of us so we really have to be prepared for it mentally. 


There's so much unknown about this. We don't know if covid causes or increases risk of miscarriage or birth defects if someone gets it while pregnant. We don't know if someone who had covid or is vaccinated prior to pregnancy is immune or has increased risk of defects. We're still not really clear on how safe it is to be indoors with masks, even though we know it reduces the risk significantly. So what does this mean for doctors appointments? Potential hospital stays? 

We do know that pregnant people are in a higher risk category. We know that pregnancy can potentially exacerbate covid symptoms. There is no safe daycare option before everyone is vaccinated. Hospital stays are very different than before - you may be allowed one visitor and they may or may not be able to leave. Even if everything goes smoothly with labor and delivery and we all get home safely, there are still so many appointments within the first few months, for baby and mom, and each one can increase risk of exposure - we just don't know where this pandemic is headed or where we'll be a year from now.

Each of these considerations is very serious individually. All together they seem insurmountable. A rational person may say that it's definitely the time to wait. Some may argue that a "vaccine is on the way" and if we hang tight for a bit then the whole covid situation will resolve and a lot of these considerations will become moot. 

All that may be true, but I've been burned before for waiting and I don't want to repeat that mistake. Before trying for our first we waited several years while trying to get our finances in order. We wanted to finish school and buy a house and pay down debt before taking on the challenge of parenting. How did that turn out? Not only did we never fully get to where I'd like financially (thanks, 2008 recession) but we ended up needing multiple years of fertility treatment before being successful. Trying doesn't guarantee success. If we end up needing another IVF to keep trying then we're up against the clock.

I spoke to our RE to catch up. I love her, she's the best. Her recommendation was that it's a personal choice but that she wouldn't put her life on hold due to covid. With regard to our treatment, she would want to do a saline ultrasound and biopsy to see where things are. If all comes back normal then the transfer would be the following cycle. If anything needs to be addressed, then we would treat and take it from there. Before even doing that, I need to address the liver and thyroid issues first. 

So that's the timeline. I'll use December to follow up with my pcp and endocrinologist. In January I'll verify our new benefits and see what, if anything, insurance will cover for a FET and the medication associated with it. Maybe by February we'll know more about a vaccine and we'll be ready to do the u/s+biopsy in the spring. In the meantime we'll continue to try to save money, pay down debt, continue to lose weight, and get in the mindset of gearing up mentally. 

Sunday, November 29, 2020

Thanksgiving 2020

Thanksgiving this year was different. Like millions of others, we stayed home. In the past we celebrated with the entire family. I would make the bird and stuffing and rolls. Others made apps and sides and desserts and brought drinks and paper goods and decorations and entertainment. There would be a fun, festive feeling and a warm atmosphere of togetherness. Eventually the kids would get cranky, politics would undoubtedly come up, loud disagreements about mundane things would be discussed, and we'd all remember how grateful we are to not live under the same roof. It would swing back up with singing and dancing and laughter. At the end of the evening, with full bellies and some last chuckles, everyone would gather their coats and head out. Memories made with the photos to remember them. 

This year there was none of that. I didn't feel like being in the kitchen all day on my one day off to make a turkey we wouldn't eat half of. We had an awkward zoom call around lunch to celebrate a family birthday. We went outside to enjoy some of the beautiful unseasonably warm weather, but mainly spent the day trading "shifts" so that each other can feel some freedom of time off for a change.  I missed the traditions, I missed the togetherness. I even missed the eye-roll of the conversations we had a thousand times before and had no interest in hearing anymore about who went gluten free by choice. 

After we put baby to bed I scrolled through social media and ate my heart out even more watching stories of people who actually did gather with family and had those traditions. Maybe they quarantined 2 weeks before and got tested and were all negative. Maybe. I want to believe that the dire predictions are just an exaggeration. But considering how many people are traveling and how many people are not being as careful anymore makes me very worried. It makes me want to gather the people I love and head into a bunker until this is all over. 

Being alone for the holiday isn't new to us. We spent Pesach alone, still reeling from the shock of losing my father-in-law to covid. We spent Shavuot alone. Months later we spent the Jewish new year, Rosh Hashanah alone. But Thanksgiving hit harder. Maybe because we didn't think it would still be a thing in November. Maybe because things are getting worse, not better. Maybe because the novelty and panic have been replaced by anger over how mismanaged this pandemic has been. Maybe because there are still people resisting wearing a mask. Maybe because we're 9 months into a pandemic and some people still don't believe it exists, even as they're dying from it in the hospital. 

I think people have gotten weirder in isolation. Myself included. I'm not even talking about re-learning how to wear normal pants. I mean being able to have a conversation with someone without navigating away from their face to multi-task something else online while they talk, like I do now on Zoom. 

I know I'm missing social interaction but I don't know what I want. Between the masks and distance, being with people feels exhausting. Phone conversations these days feel exhausting. I prefer texting and even then sometimes the effort of coming up with a response feels like an accomplishment. I want a change of scenery but nowhere feels safe. Even if we had a location to go to, packing up everything we'd need for an overnight trip feels like a monumental effort. 

My response to this is to try to check in with friends. If they're not checking in on me maybe it means they're in the same funk. I try not to take it personally and instead start up a conversation, regardless of how much mental energy it costs. We wear masks to protect each other physically. I think checking in is a way to check in on each other's mental health. 

Stay strong. Stay healthy.

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Non breaking news

Random thoughts below.

I have screen fatigue. Everything is with a screen. Work. Socializing. Communicating with family. Entertainment. My head hurts. My eyes hurt.

Like the rest of the country we've been ODing on news coverage of the elections.  Too Close To Call has been heard Too Many Times over the past week but at least we got news. I hope the transition resolves quickly. 

We sold our second car. Since March one car is more than enough. It was a hassle and annoying to have to take turns at the dealership because both of us are on the title and needed to sign the paperwork, which meant keeping the baby in the car for a while. It was an annoying adult process but I'm glad we did it and happy it's behind us. Just a few years ago I couldn't wait until we had a second car.

Cases continue to go up in our state. Our governor held a press conference yesterday to give people an update and last week he told people to "just wear the damn masks." I would vote for him as president.

I watch the Today show regularly and was sad to hear of Al Roker's news that he has prostate cancer. It's the kind of news that hits me in the gut because I know anyone at any time can get any diagnosis. We've been so consumed by worrying about this pandemic but regular fears are still there. Every time I have a cramp I worry. Every time I get a headache I worry. I play out the worst case scenario and tear up. Then I swallow the lump in my throat and tell myself to shake it off. Sometimes it's easier than others. The constant anxiety isn't helping. It's as though my brain seems to feel comfort in worrying because everything else is out of control. 

My office is still open even as the pandemic rages on. I've lost momentum with my job hunt. The applications I sent out went unanswered. There were few responses and mainly along the lines of "we hired internally" which makes me believe they weren't actually looking. Hiring freezes, competing with so many unemployed people, and finding time to fill out the tedious applications are all challenges. I'm grateful to still have an income and try to stay positive so that I don't become bitter.

I joined DietBet. I did it in October and didn't reach the goal but neither did the other participants so I won since I'd lost the most. I joined again for November and am in a much larger pot of people (and $). I find it low-key motivating which is what I'm looking for right now. The goal is to lose 4% body weight in 4 weeks. So far I'm 38% toward the goal with 16 days left. 

Wearing a mask with glasses is annoying so I've been wearing contacts more often. I wear the daily ones. I tried reordering and they said my prescription is expired. 

Earlier this week we were both feeling election withdrawal. By Monday the adrenaline wore off and the celebrations around the world simmered down. The 24/7 election coverage was done even though the news coverage continues. It just felt like we were part of something that connected the entire world and then it was over. Back to being distant. Disconnected. Apart. Historically I haven't been the most social person which translates into a smaller social group of people to reach out to right now and I find that I'm missing the connection. I miss having meaningful social interactions.

On the flip side of all this anxiety and looming depression on the far other side of the spectrum is baby boy. He's learning new words, coming up with fun tricks, exploring and tasting everything, and is just fun to be around. I miss him when we're not together and love coming home to his delighted squeals. In a million years I never would have thought I'd enjoy being home with the baby as much as I am enjoying it. If we were in a place financially where I could be home for the next few years I would do it. We're tag-teaming between us while both working full time and it's challenging and exhausting but so worth it. We're getting to enjoy him and watch him grow every day. He is such a blessing among all this poo.

I've started getting asked when our boy will become a big brother. Not unexpected. Even though it did not at all factor into our decision to keep him home, we're saving a lot on daycare since he's home. Once he turns two the cost decreases by 30% because the ratios are different by that age. I used up all my accrued time off for the last maternity leave so I'd likely have to take an unpaid time off. Maybe by the time this is relevant we'll have universal paid parental leave and affordable childcare options due to the new leadership. Regardless, it's on my mind. I'm not conflicted about it, I'm just dragging my feet because it requires so much mental energy that I don't have. I want to lose weight. I want to figure out what's going on with the liver thing. I want them to figure out what's happening with this virus. I want to try to get to a new job, stabilize our income, and get back into somewhat normal life. On the other hand.... tick tock. No one is getting younger and there's no guarantee about anything or how long it will take. So it's on my mind but I don't have it figured out yet.

Hope you and your loved ones are staying healthy and safe.

Sunday, October 25, 2020

Birthday firsts

Our little guy turned one earlier this month. Something I heard in the early days after his birth was, "The hours are long but the days are short," which I felt to be very true as we neared his first birthday. In the depth of sleep deprivation it felt like an era that would stretch on forever and I couldn't see past it. Then in the blink of an eye he's a toddler.

The daily tasks of keeping a baby happy are exhausting but I enjoy every minute of it: feeding him, changing him, bathing him, playing with him. Doing all this while working full time from home is its own special ordeal, but absolutely worth it. Fitting meetings around nap times and remembering to keep fresh fruits and vegetables in stock and trying to present balanced meals that he will eat and remembering to stay hydrated myself so he'll have something to nurse. It's a non-stop juggling act, like every motherhood story, made more intense by the lack of any assistance in childcare outside the two of us because of the pandemic. Maybe there have been some outbursts over the past few months, but show me one couple who hasn't had the occasional meltdown during past 8 months. 

When he wants a hug, he just crawls over for a quick cuddle. We get to see him interacting with his toys and be delighted when he sees a squirrel or dog outside. We get to be there to teach him and feed him and enjoy him, instead of sending him to a daycare that would get to do all those things for 8-9 hours a day if things were still how they were pre-pandemic. If there's a silver lining from all the madness and tragedy of the past year I would consider this in the top 3.

We are still strict about social distance. All our groceries are delivered and we don't go anywhere unless necessary - so far that's been limited to doctor's appointments. For his birthday I wanted the opportunity for him to see our family who are all under strict quarantine for various reasons. I advocated to work from home over the Jewish holidays which was a time span of three weeks. That would give me the necessary 14 days of quarantine and then we'd get a week to hang out with family without masks or social distancing. 

On his Hebrew birthday we both took the day off. The morning of his birthday we took a picnic to a local farm with one other family. The weather was beautiful and we kept our distance from the other family and any other people at the farm. After the picnic we got home in time for his afternoon nap. While he was napping I put the finishing touches on his birthday cake. We had a photographer come to our backyard, masked and with a long lens camera so he kept his distance. The plan was to take a few family photos of us and then do a cake smash. Since we were outside the baby kept getting distracted by leaves, which means that he barely touched the cake but we still got some great shots. After the photoshoot we cleaned up and I cut off the part of the cake that was smooshed. There was about 3/4 of the cake left completely untouched and intact so I cut it up into slices and wrapped each one individually. We then invited family members to visit us in the yard to give him a birthday kiss and pick up a slice of cake. 

Even though we did everything right (strict quarantine 2 weeks, etc) and they were now in our pod, we didn't want to have a big gathering for multiple reasons. For starters, it looks bad. I don't care about being judged but I do think there's something to be said about normalizing masks and social distancing. I don't want a neighbor or passerby thinking that it's now ok to have gatherings because "everyone else is doing it." Second, I didn't want it to be too overwhelming for the baby. After seeing just us for months at a time I thought it would be too much to have so many people showering him with attention all at once. The one-at-a-time method worked really well because that meant that the guest visiting had the baby all to themselves and we weren't passing him around and around. Baby got birthday attention, the visitor had our undivided attention, and everyone was happy with a slice of cake to-go. It was a beautiful day and I'm glad we got to spend it together. 

A few days later we had the one year well visit at the doctor's office. He's 55th percentile for height and about half that for weight. Doctor was pleased overall saying he's on his own growth curve. I still try to sneak in avocado and other fats whenever I can to plump him up, but my string bean baby is constantly on the move burning up those calories as they come in. Then came the shots. There were lots of tears. I think what made it worse this time was that they took bloodwork first. For the first time he had to have his arm held down while they looked for a vein and he really did not like that AT ALL. By the time they got to the four (4!!!) sticks in his thighs he was already beside himself. He's generally a very happy, mellow guy but this was not at all to his liking and he made sure to let us know. He was fine by the time we got to the car. I'm sorry baby... I don't like seeing you sad but I prefer slight temporary discomfort over preventable childhood diseases. 

Some cousins dropped off birthday presents. It was very sweet and kind of surprised me - I honestly wasn't expecting presents. I had actually gotten several new toys for him during prime day so he had a bunch of new and exciting things to play with. One cousin drew a birthday card which now lives on our fridge. When his legal birthday came up it was a more mellow celebration with just the three of us, since by then we were out of the pod again, but special just the same. We reminisced about where we were this time last year and I sent a text to my doula thanking her and sharing a picture of the baby. Thinking about it now, I probably should also send a picture to our RE. We will eventually be revisiting that conversation but we both agreed we're not there yet. Among other things, I want to see what's the deal with this pandemic and whether putting myself in a situation that requires multiple doctor's appointments and juggling all that without childcare is even possible. 

So for now, we're just enjoying our toddler. Happy birthday, baby boy!

Wednesday, October 21, 2020


I'm finding it hard to carve out time for "extras" like writing here or responding to texts within a reasonable time frame. Showering for 10 minutes feels luxurious. Our ray of sunshine, the love of our lives and the light of our world with zero survival skills and extremely speedy movement, is officially a toddler. This post got a little wordy so more on his birthday and one year well visit will have to wait for another post. 

While I no longer feel physically drained like I did in the past few months (because sleep is magical), I definitely feel mentally and emotionally drained. Feeling like fewer people are taking the pandemic seriously, even while numbers continue to rise, is draining. The political climate is draining. The state of the world -- nay, the UNIVERSE (hello asteroid) -- is draining. Will it ever feel like the sky isn't falling? 

I advocated to work from home for the duration of the holidays so that we could spend our boy's birthday with the family who is all in one quarantined pod. Each segment is high risk for a different reason so they are all extremely strict with the quarantine and have each other for socialization. Because I'm obligated to be in the office, we were excluded from the pod and had to social distance and mask up whenever we visited. It's a busy time at work but I said if they didn't let me wfh I would take 3 weeks vacation. They begrudgingly allowed it temporarily for during the holidays.

My employer insists on "showing strength" and "being present" by telling us that we have to be in the office. I strongly disagree with this and believe it puts us at unnecessary risk during a still very much active pandemic. I feel like if I can do my job from home, since it's all online anyway, then I should have the option to stay home. It makes absolutely no sense to me to force people to come in if they don't have to. Worse, I'm sitting in the office wearing an envo mask under my surgical mask... on zoom meetings. To help with social distancing, the office has to be at 50% capacity at any given time so we're each supposed to be in the office 2-3 days a week. To them that's the compromise. They don't get (care?) that any breaking of the quarantine means we're excluded from the family pod. That means no help with childcare, no playdates with cousins, no social interaction at all. There are also people who prefer to come in to the office to get away from their spouse or kids, so it's not like the office would be empty if we didn't come in. 

I usually sit in an open, high-traffic area. I asked for an office with a door for the time I'm in the building. They couldn't accommodate that so they put movable mechitza walls around my desk. They're covered in black felt and meant to absorb sound. So not only is it hard to hear me through my mask but I basically have to shout to be heard from someone standing outside my enclosure. It's easier to email.... it would be hilarious if it wasn't so ironically frustrating. 

Under normal circumstances there are many pros to my job, but I've toyed with the idea of finding a new one for years. The current situation has stripped away all those pros and what filtered out is a concentrated dose of the cons. I'm becoming more miserable by the day and feel like a wilting flower. It feels like no matter how hard I work -- and trying to work full time while taking care of an active toddler is extra draining -- it's still not enough. There is no way to get work done while he's trying to steal my phone or help me type on the laptop. Naps are dedicated to getting work done and quickly answering emails while people are responsive. After bedtime I spend at least another 2-4 hours nightly getting work done. Evenings, weekends, Sundays... there's no down time. There's no separation between work and life anymore. The expectations are sky high and there doesn't seem to be any appreciation for how thinly my sanity is being stretched to get things done in such an unusual environment. 

I had my resume reviewed by a professional HR manager. My LinkedIn profile is updated and I'm looking for connections and any jobs that may be a good fit. I don't have a niche where I fit in, which is good in normal-job hunting because it means I can fit anywhere, but it also means I don't have a specific job title to search for. I started by looking for only remote jobs but have since expanded to to include those that aren't. I can't afford to not work but I'm willing to take a pay cut and start at a lower level to get my foot in the door to a good place. 

This past Sunday it felt so good to get things done after a month of having Yom Tov on Sundays. We took down the sukkah, installed a baby gate, got some decluttering taken care of. You know how sometimes things just pile up and you start feeling like the walls are hugging you? Getting rid of things you no longer use feels so freeing. Good weather always helps too. 

I'm having a hard time keeping up with the grocery orders. Keeping fruits and vegetables in stock and using them before they go bad is a losing battle. Last night I cooked dinner for the first time since I-can't-remember-when and it was a nice change from cereal. 

So that's where I'm at. A friend went through surgery earlier this week and I heard about it second hand because I'm so out of touch. I feel guilty, and conflicted for not feeling more guilty.  Please forgive me if it takes longer to respond to your text. Please don't be mad if I haven't called in a while. Please feel free to send me job prospects. 

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Rosh Hashanah 5781

This year's Rosh Hashanah was a little different. We didn't go to shul and we didn't host guests or go out. Because of the pandemic things were very different than previous years. My husband spent the summer practicing how to blow the Shofar. The neighbors lined up on the sidewalk and he blew the Shofar outside. 

I tried hard to make the holiday feel festive even without the usual things we used to take for granted. I got the baby a tiny suit that came with a hat and soft shoes. It was all I could do to not smoosh him with kisses long enough to take a picture. I tried several new recipes and we had delicious meals. We limited our usual amount of challah with honey and instead invested in some new exotic (to us) fruit like a prickly pear, some weird melons, papaya, and quince. The weather was absolutely beautiful and we spent a lot of time in our backyard along with the neighbors in their yards, essentially experiencing parallel holidays instead of our usual potluck. It was nice to socialize outdoors and pretend things were normal. 

The start of the holiday season means that our little guy's birthday is coming up. This time last year I was 9 months pregnant waiting for his arrival any day. There are a lot of emotions that come up when thinking about the last year. I started making him a photo album and going through the pictures was incredibly emotional. I negotiated spending the next few weeks working from home so that we can be fully quarantined in order to celebrate his birthday with other family members who are in an enclosed bubble because everyone is high risk for various reasons. 

I haven't decided what to do about breastfeeding past a year but I'm leaning toward weening so I can take a more active approach to losing weight. I'm+8 lbs from pre-transfer weight, which is about where I was at 6 weeks postpartum.  During the height of the pandemic I maxed out at +19 from my pp weight. It was partially because of no sleep (trying to eat myself awake), anxiety, and turning every mushy fruit into a muffin. We've since gotten that somewhat under control. 

We always said that we'd give him a year before thinking about next ttc steps, so now that it's nearly here we've started the discussion about a potential #2. We have to be mentally ready for the roller coaster and I'm not sure I'm there yet. We also have to be ready to do this in a pandemic... with a toddler... and no help. I'm not sure I'm ready for that either. On the other hand, is delaying anything going to help? I'm glad we started the conversation but I'm also glad we agreed to table it for a bit. 

Wishing everyone a happy, healthy, successful, and sweet new year.

Wednesday, August 26, 2020


The past few weeks have been rough. I found myself really struggling mentally and emotionally. With the seasons changing, summer turning to fall and leaves starting to hit the ground, vacation turning to school mode, there are a lot of changes. One thing that has not changed is that there is still a global pandemic with an infectious virus still very much a threat. I feel stuck in a rut and no matter how much I want to "go back to normal" or move forward we just can't. It feels like we're being asked to swim with both hands and feet tied to an anchor. 

It's gotten to a point where I feel mentally drained. The task of keeping my house somewhat organized and clean has gotten overwhelming. I never had regular cleaning help but I used to have a crew coming every few months to do a scrub and reset everything. They haven't been here since winter. The task of keeping the fridge and pantry stocked even while not going to stores is a constant. Trying to keep track of what we have and what we need to use before it goes bad. I've made more muffins this summer than ever before, in all flavors and varieties, in attempts to use up fruit before it turns. The other day there were bananas on the counter right in my line of sight every time I entered the kitchen. They looked more sad and mushy every time I passed by but I just couldn't muster up the energy to do something - anything - with them. I couldn't even deal with peeling/chopping/bagging for the freezer to join their friends from previous months. I just wanted to give myself permission to ignore one thing without feeling guilt. I couldn't do it - they ended up in some baby mash over the next few days. 

This week is the first week of daycare. We told the director we're not sending right now and they're being lovely about it, probably since we didn't request our deposit back. I'm really hoping to send him once it feels safe. In the meantime since we're technically enrolled we're included in all the communications and it's frustrating to see what could be if we had a few hours of childcare per day. I don't even need full time, just a few hours. I think he would really enjoy it too. 

My friend lost her father in April. Her neighbors held a memorial dinner last week. She told me about it but said she understood if I don't come because of my discomfort around people these days. I suggested a zoom link so I could be included which she loved because that way family members out of town were able to join as well. I could see the dinner guests sitting about 4 feet apart on a deck (connected to someone's home, so you couldn't avoid going into the house) without masks. I considered going but I know I would have been the weirdo in a hazmat suit sitting 15 feet away, changing the vibe of the evening. I wanted to be there to support my friend but it wasn't about me. It was still frustrating to feel like this is one more thing the pandemic took control over. 

Several family members have formed a pod. They basically don't see anyone or go anywhere other than each other. Since I need to show up at the office once a week, we're excluded from the pod. We were trying to figure out a way to celebrate a family member's upcoming birthday in a socially distant way where everyone could be included. The idea was to have an outdoor movie projecting on a wall and everyone bring their own snacks. It was a good idea in theory, but besides for the bugs and humidity, it doesn't get dark until 8:30 which was too late for a lot of people. The idea was put on a back burner and I was told the party would be postponed. The next morning I see pictures of a get-together on our family whatsapp group. Turned out that the birthday celebrant was invited over for cake. Other members of the pod dropped in. A present materialized out of nowhere. Music started up and it was suddenly a party. It happened organically, which is fine, I don't fault them for getting together. But no one thought to open up a zoom room for us. It's gotten to the point that not only are they physically distant but we're starting to get completely forgotten. I wasn't angry, just sad about one more thing to miss out on. I asked for an explanation and got sincere apologies from everyone involved. I could make it into a federal case but that's not what I want. I let it go and moved on for the sake of peace. 

I had an interview last week. It was more of a screening. A friend recommended me to a company who has remote openings but the budget isn't approved yet so they're not actively offering anything. I'm very eager to get a new job. Not only was my salary reduced but hours have increased. At all hours of the day and evening we can be on -call. Sometimes we have meetings at 8:30 pm because that when everyone is available. There's no separation from work and home life. I know that finding a remote job during a pandemic is like looking for a unicorn but I can't let that stop me from trying. Things can get slightly better if I work remotely but my employer wants to hear none of it. I can get some help with childcare and stop the madness of trying to work full time while simultaneously entertaining a near-toddler whose current life mission is to discover gravity by experimenting with his head. When he's up he needs careful supervision, and when he naps or after bedtime is when I cram in work, try to throw in a load of laundry, prep food, respond to texts. We tag team as much as we can but it's still just the two of us each with our own full time job. 

I don't regret our decision to keep him home for the time being. It's the only way I feel I can protect him. But I'm feeling the weight of this challenge. This pandemic. The politics. The insecurity over what's to come. Part of me wants to believe that if we just hold on a little longer things may take a turn. What am I hoping will change? I don't know specifically. I just have to believe that there is hope and that this won't last forever. 

Thursday, August 6, 2020

Best Interest

At the start of the pandemic shutdown it felt like time was standing still while we held our collective breath to see what happens. For a while I had trouble keeping track of the days and weeks - if it weren't for Shabbat to ground me then every day would have been the same. Every day was similar: going nowhere, doing nothing, and glued to the news to figure out what in the world is happening. The days passed and eventually we got used to the new schedule. Days turned to weeks which turned to months and suddenly we're in August with a fast approaching deadline about what to do with the fall. 

There are people who have gotten used to the new world. They're out and about in a way that works for their family. Then there are those of us who are still as worried today as we were in the tail-end of March. I'm not sure if it's PPD rearing it's head again, or it's the result of being home too much, or maybe a combo with a bit of both, but I've noticed my heightened anxiety about other things too.  A few weeks ago we decided to drive to a lake to have a picnic. The drive was about 25 min to get there. When we had gone about a mile away from home I started to feel uneasy. The what-ifs started rolling: what if we get a flat tire? What if someone rear-ends us? What if the car suddenly overheats? These were both rational and irrational fears. In regular times, if any of those things happen, you just call for help. AAA does their thing and you get a ruined afternoon and a story out of it. But these aren't regular times. The simple inconvenience of a misbehaving car could turn deadly if the AAA tech is a positive case exposing us to the virus we've been hiding from until now.

As it turned out, we ended up getting to the lake and seeing that it was crowded, with few people wearing masks. So we drove around a bit to see the lake and then turned around and headed home. No incidents in the hour round trip, thankfully. I wasn't so anxious that I couldn't function. I was driving while my husband kept the baby entertained in the back. We were listening to music and chatting. Overall it was a pleasant outing, minus the last ten minutes when the baby had had enough. He's not used to being strapped in that long considering how infrequently we venture out with the car these days. But the background anxiety was there, lurking just below the surface. 

Everything feels like impending disaster. It's obviously not healthy to think this way but not unusual for what's going on in the world. It's justified and concerning at the same time. As long as I'm self-aware enough to recognize it I feel like I have it under control. But the simmering anxiety makes me question my gut which is something I've always felt I could rely on without question. 

There are some things that are just facts and don't require much overthinking. The pandemic is not yet under control. There is a risk of getting the virus when people are within close proximity, especially when they're not wearing a mask. It is unknown who will have complications or just be asymptomatic if infected. It is not known if a vaccine will fix this issue. Those are just black and white facts. 

Then there are the gray areas which are what's keeping me up at night. With all the precautions being taken by schools, will they be able to prevent the spread of the virus? Even with all the precautions, will there still be an outbreak and any school that opens eventually get closed again? Will going to get my own groceries instead of getting delivery put my family at risk? Will being fully quarantined for two weeks prevent us from spreading the virus to our extended family if we want to see them and hug them?  If they do open schools and there is a huge increase in cases will we go back to square one and shut everything down? There are so many unknowns. 

My job is no longer allowing us to fully work from home starting in a few weeks. I don't know the exact plan for what they expect from us (especially since offices need to be staffed at max 60% to encourage social distancing). I know working from home while doing full time childcare is not ideal, from both the employee and employers standpoint. In fact, it's really difficult to juggle and quite exhausting. But the alternative is sending him to daycare which I'm convinced will put him at an incredible risk. 

If we could afford to live off of one salary that would be my first choice and I would care for the baby while my husband worked. My second choice would be to to continue working from home during naps and walks and after bedtime. I do not want to be forced to send him to daycare so that I can keep my job. I can't imagine feeling good about that. Anticipating this I started sending out my resume several months ago. While I'm sure they're out there, I'm having a hard time finding companies that aren't on a hiring freeze and have jobs available that are fully remote. 

After thinking about it for a while - since this is what keeps me up at night - I realized what bothers me the most about the reopening plan. The problem is that on a leadership level, starting from the White House and seemingly from my employer, we are being told to trust blindly that they have things under control when it clearly isn't. It gives me no comfort to hear the president say that if we stop testing we'll stop having cases. Since leadership inspires no confidence, I feel like I need to rely on my gut. 

Is my gut broken because of overuse and decision fatigue from the last few months? I'm reluctant to ignore it now when it seems like it could literally be a life and death situation. If it comes down to it, do I quit my job so that I don't have to send him to daycare? I don't know what to do and I don't see a path how to fix this. I know I'm not alone in this - there are millions of other people worrying about health vs income. 

I'm mentally exhausted and don't know how to recharge to be able to think things through more clearly. I don't want to make a rash decision or feel backed into a corner. 

Friday, July 17, 2020


This morning I saw my neighbor's cleaning lady park in front of my house and had a small wave of jealousy. I can just as easily call my cleaning crew and schedule a cleaning. They would be thrilled to come back. I see people on social media posting things like "finally alone!" after sending their kids to camp. Or taking their first "back to work" selfie.

I could do all these things if I chose to. It's not that I don't want to, it's that it feels unsafe to make those choices. Would it be nice to get some space and quiet? Sure. Would it be nice to have someone else take care of the cleaning, or get takeout instead of cooking, or a million other things we took for granted in the past? Sure. But not at the expense of any of anyone's health. It doesn't feel safe to go out. The virus is out of control in the United States and I just don't think it's worth the risk.

I don't wish anything bad to happen to people who make these choices. But I wonder how it's possible for some people to go regular grocery shopping, send their kids to camp, have their cleaning help, go to work -- in short, live "normally" -- and not contract anything. Or maybe they are just asymptomatic and are lucky not to be suffering from it. I wonder if it's selfish of them to do those normal things at the expense of spreading the virus and extending this nightmare for everyone.

Regardless of why or how, it must be nice to not live in a head-space of constant worry. Maybe that's what I'm jealous of.

Friday, July 10, 2020


I've been having a lot of anxiety about the "Covid and the Classroom" news. I know schools need to open. I know it's best for the kids to be among peers and learn in person. I know my own baby would enjoy having that social aspect added to his daily routine. But it seems like everyone in leadership is ignoring the fact that nothing is different regarding the virus. Cases are still spiking, hospitals are at capacity, and people are still getting very sick and dying. The only difference is that people are sick of being home and the economy is in the dumps. There is nothing different about the dangers of the virus and how contagious it is. I don't want to send him back to daycare until I feel it's safe and it doesn't feel safe. Daycare has not yet opened so until now it wasn't even a choice.

Our quarantine habits haven't changed. We don't go out to anything non-essential. Groceries are still being delivered. I haven't had normal ice cream in months because they haven't figured out how to keep it from melting yet. Whatever... I certainly found a way to stress eat and gain weight without it. I broke quarantine a few times for doctor's appointments fully masked and then felt uneasy for 2 weeks after each one waiting for that window of time to pass. We agreed to see some family at 10 ft apart. We go out on walks around the neighborhood. We cross the street if anyone comes near us and head home if the streets feel too crowded. Not everyone wears masks or is as concerned with keeping their distance.

I recognize that the world can't stay shut down forever - it was only supposed to be for a few weeks to "flatten the curve" and slow the spread. I don't want it to stay shut down, but we haven't fixed the problem yet! I know the longer we're in quarantine the harder it's going to be mentally to get back. Even so - going back when things feel this unsafe just to start going out is not the answer. When I'm up at 4 in the morning because I'm worrying and can't sleep I go online and look for remote jobs I can do from home so that I don't have to send him to daycare when it does reopen.

I hate that I'm being forced to go back to work, even at limited hours, just to "get used to being in the office again."  I can do my job at home, and have since March, but starting next week they're asking us to come back for optics. If schools are open in the fall we're expected to show up in person full time. I hate that I feel like I need to choose between my safety and my paycheck. No exceptions. If we refuse to come back, we can self furlough. With limited work as it is, that will likely be followed by unemployment. I wish we had another financial option so I could tell them to go to hell. I hate that I feel like going outside puts me and my family at risk. I hate the uneasy feeling I get every time I watch the news because they're in such denial of what's happening.

The White House corona task force is such a joke. I watched them the other day congratulating themselves on what a great job they're doing, while at the same time ignoring the additional tens of thousands of new cases that were reported that day. The numbers are out of control: as of this writing there are 135,000+ deaths and over 3.17 million confirmed positive cases in the USA. They're only testing 700,000 per day and all the experts are saying they need at least 1-2 million per day. The task force says "schools must open" but don't care at what cost to human life. They don't want to fund any of the guidelines suggested from CDC, instead threatening to slash school funding for anyone who doesn't open. They ignore the fact that people are waiting for 8 hours in 100 degree weather in Arizona just to get a test.

Quarantine fatigue is real. People around us have stopped keeping their social distance. They have backyard BBQs where the adults are sitting 6 ft apart but there's a table of shared food and the kids are all playing together. The more people say they're done the less I want to go outside and interact with anyone. That's not great for my mental health but I'm worried about our physical health too. It's impossible to be in a constant state of hysteria but it seems like there are daily new things to trigger it that I'm getting worn down and that itself feels scary. Like if I let my guard down for too long everything might cave in. Simple things we used to take for granted, like readily knowing what day it is and what month we're in, have taken a back seat.

As he gets more active and nearly mobile, he needs more attention. It's getting harder to try to work while he's awake which is fine - I cram the work in during early or late hours, nap times, and whenever my husband can take a break from his job. I'd rather juggle the impossible than worry about risking his health by sending him to school. Besides, I'm really enjoying being home with him. If I had the option to be a stay at home mom I would take it without hesitation. 

It may not be feasible to stay home forever but I feel that we have to stay strong, mentally and emotionally, for ourselves and for each other, until there is a real solution. When will this end? I don't know how and I don't know when and that's the most unsettling part.

Sunday, June 28, 2020


We recently celebrated several milestones. Our thirteen year anniversary. My husband's first father's day as a father, without his father. The baby sleeping through the night minus one wakeup most nights. Four teeth. Almost crawling.

Things have slowed significantly at my job. Covid affected the budget so they cut our salaries. There is less work also because of covid and the new tasks I was supposed to take on after returning from maternity leave are nearly non-existent. What little work we are doing is from home. Yet for some reason they want to have us phasing back to working in the office. Staggered at first "to prepare for a full reopening in the fall." I fought back on this because I said I felt unsafe to return to work during a spike in cases across the country. There wasn't even a mask policy in place until I brought it up. Conversations are up in the air but they don't seem to be making exceptions. I feel like I need to find another position. It makes me feel guilty to want a different job when 40 million people are unemployed but these are the times we're living in. I have an MBA and years of experience and even though I love parts of my job I've had countless times I felt the need to consider leaving. It always came down to needing the flexibility for fertility treatment. Maybe now is the right time to leave. Find a new place and have time to prove myself before needing flexibility for future treatment when we decide to pursue #2.

We haven't been to daycare since they last shut down on March 13. We've been back to get his stuff - lined up in the parking lot, popped the trunk, and one of his teachers put a bag in. I brought him along and they waved and cooed through the closed window. It was bittersweet. Even though he was only in daycare 10 weeks, I could tell the teachers loved him. They are not considering reopening until September. When I was asked by the director if we plan to come back my knee-jerk reaction was that I don't want to send him to daycare until there's a vaccine. I held back from saying that and said that it all depends on our jobs: whether we're still employed, working from home, how many hours. I know it's not any kind of definitive answer but I don't think anyone can give one these days.

Baby loves eating. He's long and super active so weight gain is slow but I think we're on track to the goal of tripling birth weight by first birthday. He gets around by rolling, flipping from back to tummy to back over and over. His personality is coming through and he seems to understand things more every day. He makes it clear when he doesn't want to eat anymore. He knows he's not supposed to lick the carpet but tests boundaries daily. We're gearing up to babyproof everything.

Married couples were never meant to spend this much uninterrupted time together. There are signs that we've been together in quarantine too long. Easily frustrated at each other at little things, making a big deal of something that wouldn't necessarily make the highlight reel under normal circumstances, getting in each other's space. The usual. We're working on keeping the peace and trying to be kind. This is far from over and we know we're lucky to not be quarantining in loneliness.

I needed to make a change for my mental and physical health so I put the nutella away and started walking around the neighborhood. I had gained 10 lbs over the last few months and feeling down and dumpy. I'm not sure how much I can diet strictly while breastfeeding but I can definitely cut the sweets and snacks. Already down 5 so that's making me feel better. My husband and I decided to try to lose 10% of our body weight so that's our current summer project. 

I found a lump on my breast. I thought it was breastfeeding related and tried to massage it out but it just resulted in a bruised boob. I gave it some time before I went to get an ultrasound. The radiologist said it doesn't look concerning but wants me to come back in a month. 

We wanted to get away, I really miss the beach and the water, but I'm too nervous to be around people. I'm worried about hotels and vacation rentals and what-if catastrophes. I recognize the stay-at-home order was supposed to be temporary but while the country is still out of control with regard to covid cases I'm just not comfortable taking unnecessary risks. Maybe my first trip out of quarantine will be to Trader Joe's. 

Sunday, May 31, 2020


I should have been writing as things were happening. I know memories fade fast but between working and simultaneously taking care of the baby, sporadic sleep, and maximum anxiety I just couldn't find the energy.

I had foot pain that started in February that I meant to get seen. Then quarantine happened and I just put it on the back burner. It got bad enough where I was waking up stiff all over with shooting pain coming from my right heel when I tried to put weight on it that I reached out to a physical therapist who did a telehealth appointment and told me about plantar fasciitis. That sounded like what I had. She gave me some exercises and stretches to do, along with ice and rest. There was no time for ice or rest but I tried keeping up with the stretches when I remembered and it was more manageable.

I know exercise will help but I have to find the mental energy for that. I barely have the energy to keep my shit together long enough to do the basics. We've been home since March and only been doing grocery delivery. No takeout, no breaks. It was hard enough getting dinner together nightly. Now we're eating breakfast, lunch, and dinner at home. Baby has started solids, which was terrifying at first, but now really fun to watch him explore and discover new foods. We're up to 3 teeth. Likes include sweet potatoes and squash; dislikes include avocado and new textures like cottage. I'll keep offering them to see if his tastes evolve.

Shavuot came and went. It was another holiday without shul or guests. When pesach started we didn't think we would still be doing this for shavuot. Yet here we are.

I've participated in plenty of the trends making rounds on instagram. That includes baking banana bread, trying out different bread recipes like crusty bread and pita, giving my husband a haircut, the whipped coffee, and probably a bunch others I'm not thinking about. I gained weight during quarantine which doesn't help my foot pain or mental state. I'm eating myself awake, I'm stress-baking, and we've prioritized things that require little to no prep, like cereal, which is basically empty calories. 

I'm still enjoying being home with him. As hard as it is to work while taking care of him, I'm grateful to have a job and I'm grateful I get to enjoy watching him reach milestones and get cuter by the day. He's sleeping a little better these days - still waking up at night but not as often and not for as long.

I've cried at the news of George Floyd's death and all the other horrible stories of mistreatment of black people that came to light. I've cried at the numbers that keep rising: cases, hospitalizations, deaths. I've cried at the mismanagement from leadership at the top. I've cried at the feeling of hopelessness that this will never end. I've cried at the uncertainty of what will happen with our income. I've cried in anxiety about our health and our family's health. I've cried that my baby's grandparents and cousins can only enjoy him via video chat or from a distance and missing the most delicious stage yet.

Thursday, April 30, 2020


This was a really tough month. In late March my husband's father was hospitalized for not feeling well, thinking it was complications of his diabetes. Less than a week later he passed away from covid complications.

To say the situation was traumatic and surreal would be an understatement. It was the height of the epidemic in their state. There was a backlog at the funeral home so he couldn't get buried for two days (Jewish custom is to bury as soon as possible, most times within 24 hours or next business day depending on cemetery staffing availability). There was no funeral. Shiva, which is normally the period of seven days where the mourners gather and have visitors and meals delivered, was conducted individually by each mourner at their own home with no visitors. Calls and emails only. This was immediately before Pesach. I was working, making pesach on my own, and doing daycare while trying to be as supportive as possible to my husband who just lost his father.

Pesach came and went. It was a strange time. The weather had turned chilly and we still were fully quarantined. All shuls were closed. No guests at meals. We kept our phones on in case our families needed to reach us in an emergency. The baby was teething so no one was getting much sleep.

After the holiday, I took the baby for his 6 month appointment. The ped was only seeing patients under 2 for well-visits. As anxious as I was about leaving the house, with the baby no less, I didn't want to get off schedule with his shots. Only one parent was allowed. I masked up, put a cover over the stroller and got in the building. We had checked in over the phone before coming up. We got screened at the front, temp taken. When I got the ped office I rang the bell and was taken right to a room. No waiting room, no other contact with anyone else. The ped was fully garbed in PPE with gown, goggles, mask.

In other news, my period returned the second day of quarantine. Not sure if that was my body's plan all along while breastfeeding full time or if the stress of the situation had anything to do with it. Other than the doctor's appointment my only other time breaking quarantine was going to the mikvah. They were also taking precautions like asking everyone to wear masks and do all the preps at home.

All of our groceries are being delivered. If it can't get delivered we just don't need it. The news isn't getting any less intense and it's mentally exhausting.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Black pepper

I have been meaning to come on and update. Every time I feel like there's something to write about something else, bigger and more frightening, happens.

The start of March was calm like any other week. We were getting used to our new schedule. At 4.5 months he started getting at least one four hour long stretch of sleep per night. I was getting used to my new tasks at work. We were getting ready to celebrate Purim. My birthday came and went, uneventful as expected. My family was too busy, my husband's strong point isn't presents or surprises, and everyone just had too much going on. The usual. I tried to swallow my disappointment but there were the usual arguments.

My birthday was followed shortly by Purim. There were talks of large scale events being canceled but the whole idea of a virus was still very much back-burner news. It was business as usual with some casual maybe-I'll-get-an-extra-box-of-pasta kind of mindset at the store. March 11 was a turning point. It was the day after Purim. It was the day the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus a world pandemic. It was the day that toilet paper was suddenly worth its weight in gold. It was a Wednesday. The next day there were lines out the door at the supermarket. By Friday, we were told to take all of his stuff home because school was "closed next week" and we'll probably need the stuff.

The following Monday I made a second trip to the store and it was no less busy. That was the last time we were out in crowds. I've since filled up the cars with gas and taken out cash. It's two weeks later and we've placed delivery orders for groceries online but we're still waiting for them. We're ok for the most part. The first thing we ran out of is black pepper. I'm not running out to the store to buy it; and hopefully my pesach order for delivery will include it, unlike some of the other deliveries that were sent to friends with many items missing. I can't remember a time when I didn't have black pepper in the house and now it seems like such a luxury. We're obviously not suffering and I'm not complaining.

It's challenging to try to work full time while caring for a baby at home, trying to tag team between us. It's hard not to feel guilty trying to finish up an email when he wakes up from a nap and wants to play - knowing he's ok but still feeling torn. It's tough being in the house all day, every day and taking care of everything while trying to remain calm and accept the new normal. The images from the news are terrifying. We need to maintain some balance between being informed and overdosing on news. We're staying home, washing our hands, and praying for the sick and caretakers. It seems simple in theory and unfortunately the best we can do.

I almost feel guilty by how much I'm enjoying being home and taking care of him. I definitely wanted to extend my maternity leave but not at the expense of a world pandemic. I love being home in general and having my family with me makes it amazing. I wish we could see cousins and grandparents but for the time being it's just not worth the risk. The weather has turned so nice and it's beautiful outside so we take short walks around the neighborhood and hang out in the backyard every so often.

As challenging as it is to be cooped up inside terrified of the what-ifs, we know it's the best case scenario in a very frightening time. The images coming out of other countries hit hard, or even New York, are so scary.

Hope everyone stays home, stays well, and stays sane. We'll get through this together.

Saturday, February 29, 2020

Feb 29

Not only is it a special calendar date but it also happens to be my Hebrew birthday. How fun!

Monday, February 24, 2020


At just over 4 months old, we have our first roll from tummy to back. We've also hit the 4-month sleep regression. Where we once got 4 hour chunks of sleep, we're now back to waking every 2 to 2.5 hours. It's challenging to be a full time working, full time nursing mom, but we're making it work. My husband and I tag-team whenever possible and take shortcuts, like takeout or cereal. It's not ideal but I'd rather do that than worry about grocery shopping and cooking and dishes when I could be spending family time together.

It's still hard to leave him every day. I really enjoy the time we spend together. There's a balance I'm trying to find between wanting to capture every minute with videos and photos vs being fully present to play with and take care of him away from the phone.

When he falls asleep in the evenings at 645 or 7, that's when I go to sleep. It's just necessary for me to function. He gets his longest chunk of sleep (or used to before the aforementioned regression started) in the start of the night, so if I want any kind of chunk of sleep that's when I can get it. That usually means that I do my evening stuff, like preparing our bags for the next day, catching up on email, or laundry at like 2 in the morning. Usually I get my last sleep around the 4 am hour so by 7 pm I'm ready for sleep.

We had his 4 month checkup and shots last week. He was such a trooper. It hurts my heart to see him cry but I obviously know this is the best for him. He barely cried but was fussy for the next two days, just like with the 2-month shots. The ped mentioned starting solids. Optional for now and just a for-fun activity to get him used to a spoon and different flavors. I've read different thoughts about whether to start at 4-6m vs 6m and I don't get the controversy around the difference, especially if the doc green lighted it to start. I'm less confident about this than something like shots, which to me are absolutely clear, and so I rely on common sense coupled with medical advice. At this point we're sold on the idea, just waiting for the high chair to be ordered. There are so many choices that it kind of got put on the back burner until I have time to figure out the best option for us.

The other part of starting solids is the potential return of my period. I had my annual gyn appointment and of course the possibility of the next baby came up. My answer was that for now I just want to enjoy our baby. We waited so long for this that I don't want to jump right back into the roller coaster of ttc right away. Even given my age, turning 36 in March, I feel like it's not asking too much to give ourselves a year to purely just enjoy our miracle. We know all too well that it's not guaranteed to work, and we know that there are low lows that come with the high highs. I'm just not mentally ready for that. I also don't want him to ever have the feeling like he's not enough. It's almost as though starting to try for a second one seems greedy and selfish.

That's not to say we haven't thought about it. Do I have an ideal calendar planned out in my mind? Sure. Do I know that it's possible that it may not work out that way or at all? Of course. At the end of the day it all boils down to when my period returns. Not having it is almost like permission to not think about next steps, and possibly why I held on to breastfeeding when it got challenging in the beginning, since there's a definitely correlation for many women.

Overall, we're riding the wave and enjoying every minute.

Monday, February 3, 2020

Transfer Anniversary

One year ago we transferred our 8th embryo in our seventh transfer. It was the same day of the superbowl but not being sports fans I didn't know who was playing or who won.

A year ago we were that IVF couple with yet another transfer scheduled. Part of switching clinics helped restore some hope but I don't know how we kept at it. I know that quitting didn't feel like an option so we kept going. I'm so glad we did.

This time last year I was up at night because I was sad and anxious about the what ifs of this never happening for us. These days I'm up at night because of dirty diapers and chapped nipples and I couldn't be more grateful.

There are still tears. These days they are tears of gratitude and disbelief at how blessed we are. Sometimes it's tears of anxiety about what if God forbid something happens to him. Or us. Or someone takes him like we see on the news. Some say it's the "smidge of PPD" talking, but anyone who went through fertility treatment knows. This child was so very much wanted before he even existed. He is just the most delicious little guy. I'm not bias - it's just fact! :)

As hectic as life is trying to balance working full time and with an infant, I wouldn't trade it for anything. Picking him up at daycare every day is my favorite part of the day. My favorite is Fridays when we have the whole weekend coming up to spend together as a family.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

New Normal

It's been a few weeks of trying to get into a routine. Our new normal means we're not sleeping through the night yet. It could range anywhere from a 4-hour stretch twice a night or waking up every 90 minutes. This past week he had a cold so he would sneeze or cough and wake himself up. Welcome to daycare.

We're doing well with breastfeeding. Basically eliminated all the formula supplementation and even started a small freezer stash. Not that I'm suddenly making so much more, but I think there's just enough. I still pump but not as often. I'm pumping at work and sending that to school the next day so I need to figure out freezer stash rotation.

Our new normal means trying to get out the door with all the stuff by 7 am. So far we haven't made that yet. Since we're not on a schedule it's impossible to plan. If he has a good night but only wakes up at 7:15 am I'm not going to wake him. Also it's winter so it's cold and dark out which isn't a huge motivator to get out the door.

Our new normal means that my work day is very tightly scheduled. My hours were changed to accommodate the daycare schedule. That means that I need to be on time so that I can leave exactly on time to make it there for pickup. During the day I'll also pump or go visit him to nurse. This means I'm leaving meetings early and delegating tasks that conflict with my schedule. I hate declining things but I do when they're set for after I'm scheduled to leave.

Our new normal means that sometimes I'm so tired that I fall asleep with my eyes open during meetings. Or that I get dizzy. Or, my favorite, that I can't control my emotions. I've already had a teary session at my desk or two. It can be for any reason, such as I miss my baby or because someone is being annoying and I find it frustrating.

These days a shower is a luxury. The phrase "... with toothpaste!" has been heard. Grocery shopping has become its own beast: remembering what we need; getting out to buy it; finding energy to cook it. I've had help with cleaning. I feel like I'm juggling so much and it's just so much to keep track of just dishes and laundry, let alone dusting and toilets.

While there are challenges to our new normal, I love it. He's growing up so fast. It feels like every other week he's getting a growth spurt. He's still gaining weight but he suddenly got so long that it stretched out all his chub. He seems satisfied and happy so I'm not going to supplement unless I hear we need to. I have nothing against formula but if he doesn't need it then why push it.

It's still so hard to leave him every day. I know he's well cared for but that only makes it a tiny bit better. If I could afford to work part time so I could be with him, I would. As it is, we're stretching to make daycare payments so it stings even more to hand off all that money when I wish I could hang out with him all day. I never thought I'd want to be a stay-at-home-mom but a lot of things have surprised me about myself in recent years.

I want to enjoy every minute, especially since they seem to be zooming by. I work on being patient even at my most exhausted. I don't necessarily have a goal in mind for how long I want to nurse but I don't want to wean him for the sole purpose of trying again. There will be time later to deal with the roller coaster of treatment and all the anxiety that comes with it. I want to give him my undivided attention for as long as is reasonable and just enjoy the chaos of our new normal.


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