Working Mom Guilt

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I have posted about “Working Mom Guilt” before, and yet it is such a recurring theme in my life, it is never far from my thoughts. This week was particularly challenging, perhaps because I think for one of the first times, my husband had Working Dad Guilt.

Sienna is in preschool. Yes, I know even stay-at-home moms have their children in preschool, so I don’t know why I associate Sienna’s preschool experience with being a Working Mom issue. I know it is not.

And yet, every time I drop her off, I feel a sting of Working Mom Guilt.

This week, Sienna gave me a good, healthy dose of it.

Three out of five days this week, when I dropped Sienna off, she melted in a puddle. She even plastered her face and her hands up against the window, crying as she watched me drive away.

Knife. In. My. Heart.

Now, I know she loves her preschool. She often scolds me when I pick her up, saying I’ve picked her up too early, she is not finished playing, or doing her crafts, etc.

So what is it? This has only become a recurrent theme in the last couple of months.

I think a couple of things. One, she’s there by herself. I don’t mean there aren’t other kids there. There are, including her best friend. But she doesn’t have her older brother anymore. And, Graem is still at home with me while I’m on parental leave. She’s a sibling of three, flying solo. And, as independent as she is, I think she misses being separated from her brothers.

The second thing is I think she misses me. She has become more and more of a Mommy’s Girl in the last several months. She loves her dad, of course, but she is my shadow.

So, Working Mom Guilt sets in. As I left her at preschool this week, I’d just pray the whole way home. That God would comfort her. And me.

Tygh also got a healthy dose of Working Dad Guilt this week from Brae. Tygh gets up early, before everyone else, and is often out the door before we are awake. This week, Brae heard the garage door open as Tygh was getting ready to leave one morning. He bolted out of bed, flew down the stairs, and raced to the garage just as Tygh was pulling out of the garage. Tygh saw Brae, crying, reaching his arms out to him.

Tygh stopped the car, parked, and came inside. He carried Brae to the couch, who was inconsolable. “I miss you, Daddy!” he wailed.

Knife. In. My. Heart.

So where is this guilt coming from and what do we do about it?

I know that we are in the majority. Two, full-time working parents. Sure, one of us could stay home if we chose to. Yes, we’d have to dramatically alter our lifestyle, but we could do it.

We have chosen, however, not to. Tygh and I both love our jobs. Our careers. Our professions.

We also dearly love our children. The two are not mutually exclusive. For me, I firmly believe I am a better mom as a working mom. I am at my best when I feel fulfilled in my profession, and at home. I need that balance. My kids need me to have that balance.

But, I still feel guilty. At times. Not all the time, but at times. Like this week.

The ironic thing is that I’m not back to work full-time yet. I’m still on leave, and have chosen to work part-time, from home. So, yes, I could pull Sienna out of preschool (I suppose) and have her home with me, too. I have chosen not to.

And this is where some raw honesty comes in. I want to be home, alone, with Graem. I want Brae in school, and I want Sienna in school. With Brae, it was just me and him, at home. With Sienna, I kept Brae in preschool, and it was just me and Sienna at home. I’m doing the same with Graem. I need this bonding time with just him.

I’ve accepted Working Mom Guilt. So what do I do now? Well, I’ve chosen to let some things go. When the kids are home with me, I’m completely devoted to them. The laundry sometimes stays in the dryer for days. The dishes pile up in the sink. The beds aren’t made. We’ve hired a housekeeper so I don’t spend my weekends cleaning house. I say “no” to other commitments that would keep me away from my kids.

At church this week, the sermon was about living in the margins. Creating more white space on your pages of life.

I believe in that lifestyle mentality.

Because life happens in the margins.

Pregnancy and Loss

Sarah

This last week, October 15th was pregnancy and loss remembrance day. This day is very significant in my life as I have had to say goodbye to two pregnancies of my own and an adopted embryo that didn’t survive. In all, I have to say, there was no difference in the emotional attachment of my own verses my adopted one. The wound was deep and the pain almost unbearable.

I find it ironic that this world gives names for many losses such as widower or orphan, but none given for those who lose a child. I wanted to write about it in my blog today because it is an issue that means a lot to me and it is something I have had to endure face on. I have been educated by experience and now, hopefully, I can give comfort to someone who has had to go through the experience without support or friendship.

I know there are services provided through NEDC to help women who have had to experience miscarriage. Statistically, I would like to know how many women use the service. I know from my experience the last person I would want to talk with about my emotional state would be a stranger. In fact, I couldn’t talk about miscarriage for a couple of years. I know that everyone handles pain in his or her own way. It is a difficult subject as the responses can be surprising. People can be terribly unkind and some just uneducated. I feel it is a very vulnerable experience to share with others. I would love to hear from anyone who would want to share how they were helped in their time of need.

As far as pregnancy and loss day, many women remember their babies in many ways. Some people light candles, or have a special memorial item made on their behalf. I have a friend that celebrates these babies yearly with a planned significant memorial for all moms who provide their babies names and due date or birth date. I participated in a hot air balloon memorial last year. All the babies’ names were written on pieces of paper attached to a helium balloon and released from the hot air balloon. It was a beautiful idea and memory that every life is precious. It gave me permission to share my feelings and open my heart in that private place. It has brought healing for me.

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Precocious

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pre•co•cious
adjective \pri-ˈkō-shəs\
of a child : having or showing the qualities or abilities of an adult at an unusually early age

This is Brae. At least, according to his teachers. I must admit, I had to look it up when they told me this is how they would describe him. I didn’t know if they were giving me a compliment or not. (In truth, I still don’t know).

You see, since Brae started kindergarten, we have been in regular communication with his teachers. He throws pencils. He can use potty words. He has to be at the front of the line. His paper has to be on top.

The teacher has a “behavior” chart. Red is bad. Yellow is a warning. Green is good.

Guess where Brae has spent most of his kindergarten days.

When the teachers have called, asking for advice, I tell them the truth. Yes, he’s tired. He’s adjusting to a long day. Yes, he is very smart, and if you do not keep him occupied, he will act out. And, quite frankly, yes, he’s a 5-year-old boy with a big personality.

I don’t want to break his spirit. However, I also want him to get a job one day, get married, and stay out of prison.

So, we have been working on his behavior issues at home. I’m told things improved last week at school. “Improved” being the operative word. “Improved” meaning he still got removed from gym class because he couldn’t keep his hands to himself. “Improved” meaning he still got removed from music class for using potty words.

Sigh.

Dear Brae’s teachers, don’t you see what I still see?

Britney

Connecting Through Embryo Adoption

Sarah

My final HCG level came back doubling and strong! It was a relief to know my sibling embryo has a chance after all. Now just to get through the first ultrasound. Holding my breath for a strong heartbeat!! Feeling blessed and so thankful today.

Last week I met with a preceptor and friend of mine who introduced me to embryo adoption. It is wonderful the friendships and connections that can be made this way. She was amazed at my daughter and the miracle of her life and how she is growing each day. I also was introduced to a woman whose husband is a doctor and best friend with Dr. Finger. He is the doctor and spokesperson who travels and promotes embryo adoption in churches and groups who haven’t heard of adopting in this way. If anyone out there is interested in having him come speak at your church or organization, he can be contacted through the NEDC. I was told this is the last year he will be speaking and teaching on embryo adoption.

I am always looking for an opportunity to share my story. I keep a picture on the back of my phone of my daughter in hope that someone will ask me about her. It gives me the opportunity to share and pray for those who are struggling in this area. I hope other women out there who have adopted embryos can feel led to share and bring hope to family, friends, and strangers. It is like a gift that keeps on giving. I pray my story gives hope to others and it opens my heart in deeper thankfulness for what I have received through adoption. It also is a reminder of how precious life is when facing hard times. I can look at my daughter on those bad days and just reflect at the end of the day.

Attached my phone pic of Vivienne

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Tell Us The Story!

Grant and Maria like for me to tell the story of when they were in my belly. Over time they have started to add their own parts. It goes something like this:

Me: “Mommy and Daddy prayed about the babies we would have. You all were extra special because you were frozen embryos.”

Grant: “Frozen!? That’s silly, Mommy.”

Me: “Yes, you all were just waiting for Mommy and Daddy to pick you. We prayed and God told us that you were the ones for us. A nice doctor put you in Mommy’s belly and you decided that you wanted to stick around.”

Maria: “It’s nice and warm in here.”

Me: “So you started to grow and Mommy and Daddy got to see you when your arms were like little fins and you were just swimming around. You grew and grew and Mommy’s belly got REALLY BIG. Grant was wild fist-pumping all the time and Maria was rolled up in a little ball. Then, one night it got really crazy and…..”

Maria: “GRANT BROKE THE WATER!”

Grant: *shoulder shrug and giggle*

Me: “We went to the hospital so we could see what was going on. You were supposed to keep cooking for a couple more months, so the doctors said they were going to let you stay as long as possible. But, three days later, you all said you were coming out. Grant was first…”

Grant (shifting his eyes and shrugging his shoulders): “I looked at the doctors and said ‘hey, what’s going on?”

Maria (with a shiver): “And I said ‘PUT ME BACK! IT’S COLD!!!'”

The story goes on and we talk about how they were in the NICU and how they had to learn to sit and walk and talk.

They love their story. I do, too.

In Two Months…

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In two months, we will meet Sienna’s genetic family for the first time. Face to face.

In two months, Sienna will get to meet the genetic parents who chose life for her. She will get to look into the eyes of her two fully genetic siblings.

And smile.

We live in Oregon. Sienna’s genetic family lives in Ohio. We’ve decided to convene in Florida.

Disney World.

This trip has been in the making for nearly a year now, and we are beyond excited. (Apart from the whole flying across the country with three small children thing).

We have an open adoption with Sienna’s family, and since her birth, we have regularly exchanged pictures, videos, emails, texts. We are even Facebook friends.

This level of openness has probably been instigated mostly by me. I am an open person. Period. And it is important to us that our children know their roots. I’m just grateful that both Brae’s birth family and Sienna’s genetic family have welcomed this level of openness.

But, we have never spoken on the phone with Sienna’s genetic family. Although we’ve heard their voices (via videos or recorded storybooks), I’m excited to hear their voice when they see our daughter in person for the first time and say, “Hi, Sienna!”

No, Sienna won’t know what is going on. And we haven’t really shared the depths of Sienna’s story with Brae yet. He wouldn’t understand.

But, we will take lots of pictures, and lots of videos, and we will make lasting memories.

And I hope this will just be the first of many visits over her lifetime.

Britney

Celebration of Hope

Sarah

Thursday was my celebration of hope day. I got my next HCG results and I was shocked to get a 91! I had so prepared for the worst and was already planning for everything to be over. I was still cramping and feeling terrible. I am so relieved – and will be doing another test on Monday.

I really want to celebrate and call all my friends and tell them our good news. I know we have many tests and mountains to go over before I will feel things are safe to share.

This weekend I spent time researching HCG levels and FET windows of implantation. I discovered that many women land with all sort of numbers (my numbers have always been over 100). When I got 39 as my first result it was over in my mind! I was surprised that there were moms that said they had twins and even triplets with a starting low number. The conclusion I learned about HCG levels is that it doesn’t matter the starting number as long as your levels are doubling, as they should. It would be great if there were a forum to post questions on NEDC. I have had questions going through each transfer, and many women must have them as well. With all the cramping I have had that I didn’t experience before, I could only guess what the cause may be. I feel due to my extra thick lining my embryos may have had a harder time implanting. I have wanted a direct answer on FET implantation window; most resources I read were 5-7 days post transfer. I could not find a textbook answer on this. If anyone knows, please send me a post. I know if may not matter now as I received a positive, but I do like to help others who may want to know these kind of questions.

This week I will be praying for the viability of my pregnancy and taking some down time to spend with a close friend of mine. I scheduled this trip before my transfer to break away from the emotional stress of whatever the final result would be. I hope to hear of positive results from other mom’s and celebrate with them on their surviving embryos. I hope everyone is taking care of the emotional side of your transfer.