Tuesday, December 18, 2018

All she left behind

We lost my mother-in-law last week to breast cancer.  She was 80 years old.

The last few weeks have been rough on my house.  We visited her each weekend the past month so she could see her grandchildren.  Viking was by her side for much of the time, she had decided against intervention, having undergone radiation and a double mastectomy ten years ago. She was fortunate to have the means to have a hospice nurse visit her daily.  Late last week my father-in-law had to go into the hospital himself - it was a prostate scare, he's fine, but his being admitted meant that she could no longer be at home.  She was transferred to a residential care unit at their retirement community and died later that night. It was peaceful and she was not in pain.

Niblet took it hard, and realized that she carries memories of her grandmother that her sister will never have. Viking is as good as could be expected, he has good days and bad.

I'm working through so many emotions.  My MIL was viewed by the world as a saint.  To some extent she was.  All of her outer life was lived for her husband and children.  I mean all of it.  She had many views that were a relic of the 50's.  My brother-in-law liked to joke that his parents stopped evolving in 1962, just before the British invasion. I was something of an alien to her: a Jewish New Yorker.  That I was a lawyer wasn't so shocking.  That I was a former dancer who continued dancing even after my professional days ended was ("Why would you pursue something that caused injuries?  You really danced every day even when you went to high school? Are you sure Niblet is safe pursuing ballet as you did?") I remember once lamenting not being able to get out of the house when Niblet was born and colicky.  I missed seeing other women.  I missed decompressing in a dance class, I missed enjoying a meal where I didn't have to try to eat while feeding another person.

"Those days are over for you right now," she said to me.  "Your needs have to be put on hold."

I recall being so resentful of this at the time. I was nursing and up every 2 hours.  I needed a shower and a massage. Was that really so selfish?

Looking back I have *so* much more sympathy for her.  She was, in fact, alone when she was raising her first son, her husband away in the Navy.  She was isolated.  I'll bet money she suffered from PPD without a support network, it was just what a young American mother was expected to do.

She had an inner life that most of us could only really scratch the surface of.  She looked like Grace Kelly (for real, she was stunningly beautiful as a young woman). She loved gardening.  Writing letters. (I've both vented and joked a ton about some of those letters on this blog, they were at times hilarious in their formality, and at times infuriating). She once told me she was interested in anthropology and would have studied it more in college if she could.  She wasn't interested at all in clothes or fashion or jewelry.  She enjoyed classical music, and could play piano, though she never did in front of us, even when we got our own piano - as it happens my FIL was a trained music major in college conservatory, and I imagine she stopped playing once he came into the picture.  Playing piano for an audience - even family members - was HIS thing. She was an awesome swimmer, once a lifeguard in her teens. She was fiercely in love with her husband and devoted to her sons. And loved her grandchildren. Both of them, despite her misgivings about my decision to have a second.  Babies made her smile.  

She was also a hoarder.  Oh man.  The boxes.  I mean BOXES.

But she gave me my Viking.  With all of his flaws (the hoarding tendencies inherited from her FO SHO).  

Her obituary was short - she was a wife of 57 years, mother to two surviving sons, grandmother to two grandchildren, sister to two surviving brothers.  That's it.  She refused to have a funeral, my BIL attributing this to her "unwavering modesty."  

In Judaism we say of the dead, "May their memory be for blessing."  Never have these words rung more true.  Her legacy is captured in our memories and it's our responsibility to ensure it lives on.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

It's been difficult to write

Writing has been a challenge.  Ideas flow into my head on posts all the time.  Then the realities of my day to day intervene and suddenly it's December.  How did it get to be December?

I'm waiting for the day when I'm matter of fact about the fact that Samantha is woven into the fabric of my family.  I'm still not there. I am and I'm not.  We have this baby - this sick cute, hilarious, snuggly little baby in our home and she has her father's face and to a great extent her sisters face.  And she's obsessed with me.  OBSESSED, and I'm absolutely her favorite human and I'm starting to think it's not just the milk I still produce.

And sometimes when we're driving I share her origin story with her.  It's something that I think will improve with practice.  We want - no really *I* want for this story to be, well, a nothingburger in her life.  The matter of fact hand of her genetics, not some scandalous revelation, or the topic of a very very special episode of family conversation.  My eggs were damaged.  I was fortunate to be donated some good ones.  We made a baby.  A baby that is biologically mine, even if genetically she isn't.

Niblet has good days and bad days, though mostly good.  She is starting to allow herself to be charmed by this tiny blob with big blue eyes, rather than feel threatened by her. She's protective of her in ways that make our nanny both smile and sigh, but we are all generally still feeling the endorphin rush of "THIS BABY IS REALLY HERE"

But maybe it's the still not sleeping through the night, maybe it's the times we live in, maybe it's the climate report of doom, maybe it's the family stress where parents are getting sick while Viking in I are like gerbils running on a wheel.... I'm spent.  And I feel guilty for saying that, like survivor's guilt.

I watched the movie "Private Life" with Paul Giamatti and Katherine Hahn, and OMG I was a fucking wreck afterwards.  The pain of that infertile couple was too real, it all hit too close to home, and when I was done I realized just how lucky I was to have Samantha - and Niblet - in my life.

What have I done to be so fortunate?  How will I ever be able to give my due to the universe for doing me such a monumental solid?  I mean sure, raising empathic children who aren't sociopaths is a good start....

Monday, October 15, 2018

I see you

So the thing is, the little spirit that was haunting me for so many many years is with us now, I believe that.  I look at her big blue eyes and she looks back at me, and I truly believe that we both are just like, "gee, it's you.  I'm so glad to see that it's you."

But for the mamas out there who are still reading my words, who are still in the thick of their grief and their hell - because it is indeed hell - I see you.  I wear my eight stacking rings religiously these days, not because I am worried I will forget.... I will never forget.  But they are comforting in a way, a tactile reminder of that hell.  When I'm stressed and worried I fiddle with them - in staff meetings and other venues - and tell myself that I can breathe and put one foot in front of the other.  I can plaster a smile on my face and continue on.

Today the smile is real, because she is alive.  She made it to me. She is healthy and she is like pure light.  But the pain is merely dulled.  So many years lost.  So many babies. 

I see you out there. I am crying with you too.  I am holding you in the light with so much love and so much hope for you.


Friday, October 12, 2018


I recently commented on a BBC birth board, offering virtual hugs and hope to a woman who just miscarried.  She was blaming herself and I offered the 1 in 4 statistic. And yes, I noted that I refused to blame myself for my eight losses.

She replied and asked how I kept going.

I kept going because I truly believed that the spirit of the baby I was trying to have was haunting me.

I always worry that framing my perseverance this way makes me out to be a loon, but sometimes vocabulary fails us, and honestly, it's the most accurate way I can get my point across.

There's a movie out on Netflix now called "Private Life" and by all reports it's a horrifyingly accurate portrayal of a couple in their forties trying to have a baby, ultimately exploring donor eggs and adoption.  The reviews of it on various support boards have all been positive so....

I downloaded it last night and wanted to check out a few minutes of it.  The opening scene has Paul Giamatti stabbing Katherine Hahn in the ass with what is supposed to be a progesterone needle.  Everything about the staging, her position on the bed, his apology for hitting a nerve, the bad of frozen peas, every fucking thing about the first four minutes of this movie told me I need to get in the proper headspace to watch it.  It was TOO real.  Not that I watch much these days, because S is only sleeping in 3 hours stretches at night right now.

I'll try to watch it this weekend and post a review, but keep in mind my inlaws are staying over this weekend, so watching a movie from start to finish is sort of aspirational.  I gave Viking the heads up that he might want to see it with me, he loves Paul Giamatti.  But I am also worried about being a crying mess from it.

Monday, October 1, 2018

Future gymnast

Check out this picture of 8 month old Samantha and bear witness to the reason I needed an emergency C-Section.  According to Viking, this is exactly how she was positioned when I was laboring. 

Thursday, September 20, 2018

New Normal and Atonement

Hello world.  I'm an employer now, to a Nanny.  It's been three weeks and I am breathing a huge sigh of relief. She's great.  Both girls appear to love her, she's smart and compassionate and I am totally remembering now how I gravitated towards her during those foggy days of my maternity leave.

In short I got really fucking lucky that the universe placed her in my path and that I have the resources to make it work.

This week marked the Jewish New Year, and Yom Kippur, our day of atonement.

I've been thinking about presence.  How present are we in our day to day lives?  When I'm scrolling on my phone in the wee hours of the night while nursing Samantha, what does that say about my connectedness to her in those moments?

I was thinking about the many times - like most parents - that I am scrolling on Twitter or FB or IG when sitting with my children.  The moments I am missing and the behavior I am modeling. 

And so when I asked for forgiveness in prayer, and set out my resolutions for the new year, they largely centered around my phone addiction.  There was some other stuff too (like no longer angrily criticizing the Viking for his piss-poor cleaning habits in front of Niblet).... but honestly, thinking about the zombies we are becoming as a human race is more than a little frightening.

Also frightening is the bombardment of imagery and information and triggers.  I scrolled past pictures of babies killed in Yemen the other night.  WHILE I WAS NURSING. 

I am here, alive and ostensibly healthy, with a beautiful home and a hot husband and my daughters  stare up at me with their big beautiful eyes and I need to be present.  In the moment.  Either fully invested in the beauty around me or grappling with whatever they bring me - whether it's hunger cries, the need to be worn like a baby kangaroo, or help with Common Core math (which blows, btw). 

So I asked for forgiveness for those days and night staring at a tiny rectangle that generally causes my cortisol levels to rise.  I need to be present.  I want and need to be connected to the people in front of me. The people I love so much, who I went to hell and back for.

(I came across this video on one of these late nights.  It's utterly terrifying, and left me gutted, so seriously, you can choose to not watch it, hell in some ways I wish I never saw it.  But I used to love MOBY, and the song is an earworm, and I think it kinda captures where my head was at this Yom Kippur). 

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

The great clean

Man, this summer is flying by.  I got a week at the ocean, which let me tell ya, is a little less restorative when you're still not sleeping.  But beautiful, nonetheless.

This weekend, the last weekend before school starts, I will be cleaning.  And then cleaning some more.

Our new nanny, C, starts on Tuesday.  All of the tax filings are in, the paperwork is signed and the payroll is set up.  I'm an employer now, and hopefully will be a good one?

Samantha has done so well at our local daycare center, of course I am second-guessing my decision to pull her out.  She's honestly such a chill baby though, that I have to believe that she will thrive with C.  I know that Niblet will fare far better with someone who pick her up from school, get her to finish her homework, feed her and then chauffer her to her myriad of after-school lessons. 

But before any of this starts, I have to clean.  Here is just a sampling of the things lined up in and crammed into the hallways and corners of my house that people are currently bumping into, sitting on or tripping over:
 - Two sleeping bags, unfolded
 - A trash bag filled with Niblet's shoes (collected from all over the downstairs, to be put away in her room)
 - An empty giant cardboard box that Princess is no longer into
 - A door that needs to be hung
 - A box of Tools that would be ostensibly used to hang the door
 - Viking's dirty socks
 - A bag of extra linens that we took to our beach rental
 - target bags filled with school supplies
 - books
 - unused mason jars
 - Dust balls


Monday, August 13, 2018

Intrusive thoughts

I was tempted to hit up my therapist the other day.  It's been maybe four months since I last saw her, and while I had my shaky days, I thought I was ultimately handling life pretty well.

And then I read about the Orca. The grieving Orca, who carried her dead calf for a thousand miles, nearly starving herself in the process.  And I felt fucking gutted.  Just completely numb with sad.

Today I read that she has let her calf go, and is back to what appears to be "normal" behavior.

The Orca story captured so much.  The enormous pain of losing Celine, and grief for letting her go.  The no-longer existential ecological threat we're living under (the Orca population is endangered because we have obliterated their primary salmon source).  Climate inaction and maternal grief in one click.

Tack on to this the horrific child casualties in the middle east, and the trauma endured by immigrant and refugee children in the US and abroad.  All just scrolling and scrolling while nursing to the light of one's phone at 3am.

I don't really think your particular political persuasion matters - the pain of innocents is sometimes too much to bear. 

I wonder whether as a species we were built to absorb the quantities of information we're absorbing. But make no mistake about it, we're hooked, it's an addiction.

"Just stay off of twitter and facebook," I could hear my therapist saying.  Maybe just stick to Instagram, right?

The thing is I can *feel* the cortisol levels rising in my bloodstream every night.  And yet I can't quit.  I removed the apps from my phones, but short of throwing them away I feel stuck.  And occasionally hopeless.

I work to improve wages and benefits for low-wage health care workers. I like to think that I am helping democratize the workplace, and as a result, providing a more stable economic life for families in my very VERY poor city.  I also do a lot of research on population health outcomes as related to workforce training.  But at the end of the day I feel utterly useless. 

The only thing that seems to sustain me these days are the three humans I live with, who happen to share the same face (I'm the "one of these things is not like the other in my family").  Viking, Niblet and Nutmeg are my tether to sanity.

That's a very heavy burden for them. I know, because most of my life I've played the same role for my own depressed parents.

Unlike my parents, I don't actually spend a lot of time in that dark place.  People who know me IRL know I laugh a lot.  I entertain friends constantly.  I surround myself with children and feed on their silliness.  I hug my husband and get him to give me nightly backrubs.  I dance.  I move.  I endorphin the fuck out of my life.

But it all comes to a head at 2 or 3am.  How will I keep my girls safe?  How do I raise them with optimism and strength? 

Sunday, July 22, 2018

a new normal and household changes

I started back at work two days ago and Samantha started at daycare.

The last six months were surreal.  My daughter is to put it simply, the most.  The most adorable.  The most joyous.  The most hilarious.  The most loving.  I can't even being to start with how my life will always be pre-Samantha and post-Samantha.

Niblet is adjusting to her new normal too, and I think with some grace.  She had a few rough months there.  "Mom, you spend all of your time with Samantha."  I think you should look at it like Mom is keeping the baby alive.  Most of this time was spent with her nursing (boy could girlfriend feed on demand).  I totally get how our lives were upended with this living breathing creature that was either latched on to me or burrowed into me like a baby kangaroo.  Totally get it Niblet.

Today, I can finally get out of the house a bit sans baby.  She HATED her father for months, now she tolerates him and even flashes him some smiles now and again.  I'd be lying if I said I wasn't flattered.  As a result, Niblet is more confident with her too.  She picks her up more, changes diapers and plays with her more regularly.  It's the most beautiful thing to see, these two girls, who look so much a like, nearly ten years apart.

Daycare was indeed harder on me than Samantha.  But due to some crazy scheduling in Niblet's school year that has her taking on so many extracurricular activities, we are looking at hiring a nanny.  Insanely Bourgie, I know.  But right now the universe has Samantha at Daycare, Niblet at aftercare, and then potentially a third baby sitter to reliably get her to all of her after school stuff.  Our childcare is like a very shaky house of cards.

And as the universe would have it, she plopped a nanny in front of me.  Literally, at Niblet's school.  I met her when picking Niblet up every day, she was picking up some of her school mates.  For four months she and I would stand in the school parking lot and talk about everything under the sun - from the latest Ali Wong netflix special to why organizing closets is so hard.  I liked her a lot, and asked her if she ever had free time to babysit.

Well, the last day of school she came up to me ( "So, this is sort of awkward...") and asked if we would ever consider hiring a nanny.  Geez, it wasn't something we ever thought we could afford, but sure let's talk.  Turns out her family is only employing her until Labor Day.  I talked to her current family, and a few others  - she's reliable, kind, their kids love her and she made their lives a million times easier.  Think a slightly punk rock Mary Poppins.  We'd end up pretty broke for a few years, but we'd be close to broke regardless with the daycare costs. I've perfected recipes with rice and beans these last few months on unpaid leave.

Everything about babies involves second guessing.
-Conceiving (Should we? If so, when?)
-Fertility (Can we?  Should we be doing something different?  IVF?  New doctor?  Pills and supplements? )
-Pregnancy (Is this safe? Is there risk? Will I have regrets?)
-Childbirth (midwife? hospital? High risk OB?)
-Infant care (Nursing? Formula? everything else that's frightening on Dr Google)
-Childcare (Do I stay home unpaid? Daycare? Home daycare? Nanny? Pray?)

I am among the fortunate. Niblet's grandmother watched her for a YEAR after I went back to work with her.  This go around I have had sleepless nights thinking about childcare (well, she's not sleeping through the night anyways).  But I also was recently promoted, so I have a little more flexibility and disposable income.  So many mamas in my country don't.  It's a fucking heartache.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

A brief interlude of rage

Ok, so let me state at the outset that I'm good friends with an immigration attorney, and I'm one of those people who has been criticizing US immigration policy for some time now.  Many of our deportations were cruel and shitty under Bush, and later Obama (seeing those cage pictures on the news attributed to his administration was not a surprise) and now...

I can't.  I just can't.  I stare into my 5 month old's big blue eyes and imagine her crying.  This isn't hard to do, she's a baby she cries ALL. THE. TIME.  But I think about how she cries when I don't pick her up immediately because, I don't know, I'm driving the car or sitting on a toilet or standing over a pan with flaming hot sesame oil sizzing towards my eyeballs.  And I imagine her cries when I am eventually going to be self-separated from her when I return to work.  But I have the minimal solace that she will be at a daycare where I know that she will be held and she will be soothed and I will rush out of work like the fucking flash to have her in my arms again.  And I will gladly nurse her as many times at night as she wants just to be near her.  I say this not as some awful sanctimommy, but with some degree of matter-of-factness, because this is how we rolled with Niblet when I had to return to work nine years ago.  Yes it sucked, and yes I was tired, but when you have to leave your baby for the day, you will do what you gotta do.

The news is wrenching and awful and frightening and TRIGGERING AS FUCK.

And look, mass incarceration, it's sort of the American way.  I live in a city where families are torn apart every day, and children are hurled into a foster system that can eat them alive.

But this, this is all too much.  I attempted to explain some of it to Niblet this morning on our drive to camp, and she was just.... appalled.

That's all I've got.  Oh, and if you think that children who don't speak English, and in many cases, don't speak Spanish, should have access to legal representation as well as an advocate who can help them reunite with their family, well, RAICES is a good organization to donate money to:


Monday, June 11, 2018

The highs and lows

I stare at Samantha sometimes and lose track of time when I'm doing it.  She is just ridiculously beautiful, just when I thought it couldn't get cuter than Niblet, someone gives her a run for her money.  Her eyes are these two large blue circles, the closest I can describe them to is... tweety bird? Right now she is the spitting image of her paternal grandfather, his mom's wedding picture hangs on our wall, and offers some clues maybe to what she'll look like (hint, it's awfully pretty).  She loves music and I sing to her constantly, just to get her to smile.

The last few weeks have amazing and sad all at once.  I can't believe how much I enjoy SAHMing.  I've been all in, taking Samantha to the library for nursery rhymes, trying to clean and purge from the hoarder hell Viking imposes on us, picking up Niblet from school every day.  Now that summer is here, I've been adding the local pool to our routine.  My days are exhausting (WHY WON'T YOU NAP IN THE AFTERNOON CHILD????) but full.

Soon that's coming to an end, I'll be back to work in mid-July and Samantha will be at a day care center.  A trusted center (we sent Niblet there, many of her caregivers are still there, the low turnover is encouraging), but a center nonetheless. 

I love my work but I love this more.  But I also make a really good salary, and more importantly, my job comes with a pension and a health benefits package that is irreplaceable.  I don't talk about it much because it's one of those cadillac plans that would make most people in the US want to stab me.

One of the negatives of being home has been the amount of time I've spent on social media (FB, Twitter).  This is my own fault, but man, it's gotta end.  I've spent a lot of time thinking about depression, and anxiety, and the immediacy of bad news, and current events, and world events, and my children's safety, and daily brutality,... and how aside from looking at cat and baby pictures, the internet is a black hole of scary and anxious for me. (PSA, it probably is for you too).  So I've made the decision to cut off from most social media (except for Instagram, because hello, cat and baby pictures).  I also need to find a few hours to update my will, what's morbid about that?

I have five weeks left at home to cherish.  I know from experience that sending my 6 month old daughter to daycare won't be the end of the world, but I do worry about the day to day feeling of living on the edge of insanity and time management crunch when I get back to work.  Thank god I have flexible hours and the ability to do a lot of work from home.  And now that Viking no longer has to work weekends, I can look forward to a ballet class now and then to get my head straight.

Monday, May 21, 2018

The haunting

Maybe it's too much time to my thoughts in isolation during those quiet dark hours when Samantha wakes up.  Maybe it's too much time on my phone, on twitter and fb, and absorbing so much daily horror in the harsh light of electronics. Maybe it's late onset PPD?

I've felt haunted these past few weeks. The babies who never made it, particularly Celine, have invaded my consciousness.  Would she have looked like Samantha?  Would any of them have looked like my side of the family?  Would they have started rolling at only three months and be on their way to crawling early, as she is?  Would they have had her wide-smile (which actually *may* be my epigenetic contribution, because fuck if her smile doesn't actually resemble mine)?

A few days ago I broke down in the kitchen, a weeping disaster at 5am, as Viking was getting ready to go to work.  "Don't you ever think of them? Don't you ever wonder?" I wailed.  He was silent.  No, he said quietly.

My mom, when I tried explaining why I sounded so down, inelegantly advised me to try to "forget" about them.  "Would I ever tell you to forget about your father?" I responded.  That put then end to that.

Boy, we all say "grief isn't linear" in the grief community, it's a mantra in our tribe.  But FUCK, it really isn't.

Friday, May 4, 2018

Things that make me cry

1.  Exhaustion.  I mean this one is pretty expected, I sometimes feel like I'm about to keel over at any minute.  Samantha actually has some fairly decent sleep habits, but has maintained an absolute aversion to her father.  And they share a face, ha ha.  Genetics schemetics, this baby *only* wants attention from me.  I'm flattered kid, but being your servant 24 hours a day is getting a little rough almost 4 months in.

2. This book:
Wish (Hyperion Read-Along Book)

OMG.  This was a gift from a friend, another RPL warrior.  Niblet picked it up and read it alound to her sister,  When she was done, my usually snarky, eye-rolling, too cool for school 9 year old was gobsmacked.   "Whoa," was all she could say.

3.  You Are My Sunshine.
Every week we have been going to the public library for "Mother Goose on the Loose" story and nursery rhyme sessions designed for babies (they're pretty awesome by the way).  It's one of those things I really appreciate on my long maternity leave, something I never got to do with Niblet.

But every week we sing "You are my sunshine."  Jesus this song fucking breaks me.
You are my sunshine, my only sunshine
You make me happy, when skies are gray
You'll never know dear, how much I love you,
Please don't take my sunshine away.

Am I the only parent with PTSD who is broken by this song?  It's insane, I'm sitting around with a bunch of moms, dads and grandparents, and welling up every. single. time.

4.  Having to return to work.

I am one of the few Americans offered a 6 month leave (much of it is unpaid).  I still have until July 19th, but it's looming.  Even with the sleep deprivation, thrushy nipples and feeling like a neglected cleaning lady/family chauffer, I am loving my time at home.

Being a SAHM isn't on the table.  I was recently promoted, I will make a comfortable income, way more that the cost of day care.  My work-husband was also recently promoted and can take a lot of the stress off of work for me.  But more importantly, I am the source of the family's health insurance.  Thanks America.  Sure, Viking can family coverage (we used his coverage for IVF), but it would cost a lot.  My benefits are insanely good - no deducible, no co-pays, 100% coverage on virtually everything for the entire family, dental, vision, Rx drugs.  You can't walk away from a benefits package like this.  I also get a small child-care benefit.  And four weeks vacation a year (which I burned on this leave).  Not to mention I have a pension, an actual pension. And my hours are for the most part, flexible.  I come and leave the office mostly when I want, and my VP lets us take our kids into work. It's like fucking fantasy land. Samantha will have to be in a day care center, but I can mitigate it a bit with shorter hours on a fairly regular basis.

She's going to the same center we sent Niblet to, though Niblet was about a year older when she started.  It's a great place, many of the care givers were there in Niblet's time, and those low turnover rates suggest the place could be a lot worse.  Niblet thrived there.  But I'm not happy about any of this.  I imagine the days that I drop Samantha off, and my eyes start to well up.  I feel fortunate to have the resources to make it all happen, but man, Scandinavia looks awfully good right now. 

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

People see what they see

Sammi looks so much like her sister did as a baby that I sometimes call her by the wrong name.

It's sort of funny though, how people see what they want to see.  My parents are gaga over her and visit about once a month from NYC.

"She's beautiful, and looks like you," said my Mom.

"Well, you know that really isn't possible," I had to remind her.  Also, this baby is a strawberry blond cherub, something I am decidedly not.  She has giant blue-gray eyes, although her sister did too, until around 6 months old.

"I don't know, you carried her for nine months, you had to influence something in there.  She's pretty, like you."

Okay Mom, if you insist.  Really I am just a vessel for my husband's babies, and I'm completely on board with that.  They're cute as hell.

Niblet's dance abilities are starting to really become apparent, and I say this not as her mom, but as a former ballet teacher.  She's taking three ballet classes a week (kind of a heavy load for a nine year old).  One of them is with older kids, it's called a "push" class that's only offered to one or two kids who are ready to be challenged.

Sure, I had some dance talent.  My Mom did too.  But where did the nature end and the nurture begin?  Without my exposing her to dance (she was into soccer until she saw me take a class one day), without my driving her to classes downtown every other day, without my ability to afford to pay for her instruction, and without her ability to do well in school and get her homework done (our pact), it would all be sort of moot.  The same held true for my parents and me, by the way.   Is something wired in our DNA?  Or were a myriad of environmental factors at play?  Or both?

We'll never know, will we.

Sunday, April 8, 2018


So I've mentioned before that Niblet named her sister.

We had a list we put together of names we could all live with, if not agree upon.  Viking and I were keen on one, Susannah.  My great-grandmother was Suzanne (French), and we thought we had lots of nicknames to play with.

"But she doesn't look like a Susannah," said Niblet in the hospital.  "She looks fun and cool.  I think she looks like a Samantha."

Viking and I looked at each other.  She was a sort of spunky looking baby.

Hmmm.  This wasn't on our list.  I always liked the name and knew some cool girl Sams.  But I also associated it with too many TV shows, especially 80's soap operas (Sammy Jo from Dynasty, Sammy from Days of Our Lives - both favorites of my grandmother Celine - came to mind).

The white board in our hospital room had a blank space where Nutmeg's name should be.  We wrote out Samantha.  "I think it looks sort of clean and aerodynamic," Viking said.

I pulled out my phone and googled the etymology of the name.  In Hebrew it roughly translates to "God Heard."

Her name is Samantha.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018


When I'm roused up by cries at 3am and looking at Viking, sleeping cozily and soundly (on a new plush mattress, may I add), I am actually cursing him and his worthless nipples.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Therapy and Relief

So let me note how amazing it is to be 6 weeks postpartum and NOT be a weepy, depressed mess.

We were steeling ourselves for the worst.  Colic.  Crying (both me and the baby).  Sure this baby can show off her lungs, and no I am not sleeping at all in case anyone is wondering, but we're pretty well-adjusted for a household that is functioning on a lot of take out food with the mother who is literally getting 3-4 hours a night, TOPS.

I mentioned before, my slight anxiety as to how to unpack all of this baby's origin story to Niblet, and god bless my therapist for getting me to a good place about it all.  I don't have to.  It's not her story.  She'll learn it in time, but not before we unfold it for her sister.

We plan to discuss Nutmeg's origins with her early, and often.  There are some decent kids books on the topic, and we want her to be comfortable with the knowledge about her DNA.  (Niblet may read these books to her as a means of opening the discussion).  But we also want her to be matter of fact about it - in other words, we want it to be a non-issue.  I never want her in therapy years from now, describing the day that mom dropped the hammer on her and blew up her world by sharing insane information about genetics.

On other fronts, I am now cleared for exercise.  THANK GOD.  I've lost about 2/3 of the weight I gained in pregnancy, but man I am just so fluffy.  I hope that spring actually arrives so I can strap this baby on me and take many many walks up the steep hills in my neighborhood.  If this child can ever be torn from my considerable bosom and the virtual geyser of milk it contains, Imma take a ballet class soon.

So what's it like, mothering a baby from a different gene pool?  As it happens, it's EXACTLY like mothering a baby from your own gene pool.  Exhausting.  Fun.  A dream come true.  This baby is so stinking cute.  Which helps after the 3am feed, when it's 4am, and she's not going to sleep at all, she's staring up at me smiling goddammit, and I'm all "it's a good thing you're so stinking cute baby, because it's 4 am right now and I could absolutely keel over."

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

when your life is surreal

I am pretty lucky to be one of those people who can survive on very little sleep.  When people were all "But justonemore, those sleepless nights!" I kind of tuned them out.

Don't get me wrong.  It's a SLOG, especially if you're breastfeeding.  Nutmeg is still eating every 2-3 hours, though she'll give me an occasional 3 hour stretch of sleep at night.  But aside from a few one off nights of discomfort, she doesn't appear to be the colicky disaster her sister was  - and I say this out of love and utter sympathy for my first daughter, who Just. Couldn't. Cope.

Nutmeg is particularly cuddly, also a change for me.  In the million years of infertility after Niblet was born, I never imagined holding a snuggly baby who would enjoy burrowing into me the way Nutmeg does.  Niblet had to be swaddled within an inch of her life (we called it the "angry swaddle" in our house), and in constant motion.  Nutmeg thoroughly enjoys being worn, or rocked in a swing, but is really just a ball of chill.  With big soulful eyes and multiple chins.

Her resemblance to her dad and sister is pretty striking.  Sometimes I will look down at her and notice her nose - the one feature she carries that is very clearly not of either of our gene pools - and wonder if she will dwell on it when she's older (it's lovely for the record).  But most of the time I just can't believe we made it here.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Settling in to a new life

Sometimes it doesn't feel real.  Sometimes I get really stupid thoughts in my head, like, did we really get here?  Was my IVF cheating the universe?  How did we get so lucky?

There are two children in my house, and they are sisters, nine years apart.  They look strikingly similar, if I were inclined to breach my kids' anonymity and show side by side baby pictures of the two of them you would catch your breath.... though the moments where Nutmeg looks like her donor do occasionally hit me.  Not in a punch in the gut way, not at all, more in a scientific observation sort of "ahhh, look at her mouth.... and there's that expression that doesn't look quite familiar to my or Viking's gene pool" sort of way.  I know that babies tend to evolve (Niblet started taking on some of my features when she got older), but I also feel comfortable that few will ever even question her genetic origins.  There, I admitted it.  Third-party reproduction can be a minefield of emotions and inadvertent intrusions, and I absolutely breathed a sigh of relief when she came out looking so much like her father - and in turn, her sister.  I've already started talking to her in quiet moments about her origin story, as practice really.  I want it to be matter of fact.  I want her to always have known, as opposed to having a memory of the big day where her mother revealed something outrageous. Honestly,  the bigger issue I still need to work through in my own mind is when and how we reveal this origin story to Niblet. Since Niblet is the designated "reader" to her sister, we may approach it through a book....

But she's two weeks old, I don't have to have all of the answers right now.

A C-Section recovery is a bitch.  I have dodged a PPD bullet, I think, but I have definitely experienced moments of anxiety that I know for sure are related to my not being able to exercise.  I mean, I'm walking ok.  But the incision still feels like an incision, and I am constantly panicked that I am going to lapse into a dance move (as I tend to do without thinking) and somehow re-open it.  But I've been off the opioid painkillers for almost a week, so that's something I suppose.

I can't even begin to describe how amazing Niblet has been these past two weeks.  She's just into it.  She confided in me that she was sort of baffled and disappointed in her friends, who never really talk about this momentous thing with her.  She is the ultimate mother's helper, grabbing all kinds of things when we need them, she's all in on this adventure.  Thank God.

It also helps that the universe granted us a relatively easy baby.  We are treading carefully around this around Niblet, because man, she was HARD and we don't want to give her a complex about it... but the colic, oh my god, it was three months of hell, for all of us.  Nutmeg is pretty fucking easy-going in comparison.  Her nighttime cries can be muffled with white noise machines blasting in both girls' bedrooms, and she's something of a night owl to begin with (she was in utero as well).  We're nursing fairly easily, which also means she eats every 2-3 hours, which means I get roughly 2-3 hours of sleep - total - a day.  Unfortunately, I'm not good at napping during the day.  (Case in point, I am sitting here typing this when I should be asleep). So I get 2-3 hours of cumulative sleep at night, in between her feeds. 

I'm piling on the moisturizer and eye cream, because I started out old as fuck, and have no intention of looking like this baby's grandmother anytime soon.

Friday, January 26, 2018

Labor Day - Part III

She never would have made it past my cervix.

The rush of the scrubs being put on my head. The assurances by the medical team that I wasn't actually a failure myself for not being able to push this baby out ("Maybe she's more than 8 pounds?").  Watching Viking pull scrubs on and being wheeled around the corner of the hospital on a gurney.  Asking "so what the hell I am supposed to do now that I need to KEEP Pushing?"  These are the hazy dreamlike visions I have of these moments.

And then I am in the operating theater.  And the sucky anesthesiologist on whom I have to fight a keen distrust is back, and I am suddenly panicked that she won't numb me properly and I will be sliced open and feel every gruesome second of it.  "I still feel you," I keep saying, and she keeps responding "You won't feel a thing, I promise."

They proceed.  And I feel tugging and pulling, but not actual pain.  And I hear my doctor say, "Oh wow, look, her head is completely tilted backwards, she was never going to make it through the cervix,"

And I suppose they pull her out and eventually hand her over to someone because I hear a cry. The most beautiful sound in the world.  Then I hear a stronger cry.  She's out.  She's actually out.

"Six pounds, ten ounces.  Wow, your girl has a ton of hair!"

She wasn't big at all.  She's in the same range as Niblet was.

And I am being sewn and stitched up and suddenly I am freezing.  Like ice cold, and shaking and this is the anesthesia actually working.  And YES, I want more warm blankets, my teeth are actually fucking chattering, and yes, please, I want to see her.  Viking carries her over next to my side and I don't have my glasses on so I can't see much, but I see her eyebrows. Or at least, her brow muscles, because she is blond. They are furrowed in a way that is entirely familiar to me. 

As with her sister, nine years ago, there is absolutely no question as to paternity with my daughter.

She looks exactly like her father. 

Labor Day - Part II

Somewhere in the time after that second epidural kicked in I started to remind myself that it would all be ok.  Pushing this baby out would be optimal, but if I needed a C section, we - like countless moms and babies before us - would be ok (Full disclosure, I'm not a fan of the Ina May Garten and the Business of Being Born school of thinking.  Are most births too medicalized?  Possibly.  Is this the issue I raise my sword at?  Nope).

Well a few hours later, much to my surprise, I am dilated to a 9.  You read that correctly, a 9.  This fucking process worked.  The hell of a foley bulb, useless stadol, multiple epidural attempts and pitocin cranked to the sky has induced my body into labor.  I can start to feel the contractions, and am instructed to increase my epidural as needed, by a nurse who is surprised that it is set to a level 6, when often it is set to a level 10.

Um, guys, bug mistake to give me that button.  Because OF COURSE I press the fucker, and then of course I start to feel queasy and dizzy again.  And oh, gee, guess what, I really react badly to this anesthesia, and my blood pressure is dropping.  And the doctor comes in and is all, "how many times did you press the button?" And I'm like "Three I think," but I am falling faint.  And they lower the epi and stabilize my blood pressure.  And Viking is angry.  "If you didn't want her to add drugs, why did you instruct her to press the button?  Is that the protocol?"  "Well, the drip won't allow more than a certain amount into her system." "Okay, but it allowed enough that her BP and the baby's started dropping."

Alrighty then.  I am now dilated to a 10.  it's all worked.  It's about 5:30 PM, so about 11 hours from when we first started.  The baby isn't optimally stationed, she's a tad bit high, but I am instructed to push.

And push I do.  For AN HOUR.  For those who have never experienced this, it IS in fact the feeling of pushing a bowel movement and you are supposed to push in the exact same way.  Now look, some of my pushes were weak ass pushes because I have a cold and it's hard to hold my breath, but some of them were EPIC.  And the doctor is actually yelling at me, "If you don't push harder you're going to wind up with a c section."  And I am now not only pushing but angry pushing during my contractions.  And we keep getting SO CLOSE and yet so far. 

After an hour of this the doctor looks grim.  Something is preventing the baby from coming out.  Maybe she's positioned badly?  There's a midwife there who is trying to have me move into different positions to jigger this baby out.  She has all kinds of tricks up her sleeve, but none of them are working.  After over 12 hours of hell - that was actually working - my labor is officially called a failure and I am now being prepped for a C Section.

I'm an overachiever.  I've never failed at anything.  Oh well.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Labor Day - Part 1

So, the morning of my induction I go downstairs to feed the cat at 5am and my Dad wakes up and says "How're you feeling?" And I respond "Too good."  Because I did not miraculously go into labor the night before, as I did with Niblet.  (I labored at home with Niblet for the first 11 hours, unmedicated, rolling on a yoga ball, moving around and breathing through the pain.  I arrived at the hospital dilated to a 4.  Sigh.).

We get to the hospital at 5:30 and the show gets on the road at 6am.  Now earlier in the week I was dilated to a 1, and my membranes were sweeped by Dr. W.  Surely this means that my cervix was going to be a little more primed for this, right?

You would be wrong.  I was dilated to a 1.  That's right.  A fucking 1.  Sigh.

In the midst of all this I meet the doctor on call who will be delivering, and a friendly Physicians Assistant who is reading my chart and wants to confirm with me the most miserable fertility history in history.

(e.g., "Were your miscarriages the result of your Asherman's?" "No, you have it backwards, my Asherman's came after a D&C for a partial molar pregnancy, and was treated and then I went on to have a million more miscarriages. And the MTHFR you just asked about resulted in the baby I lost with a giant omphalocele.  And how the fuck is this the time to be talking about all of this with me?")

So my induction plan then changed, and we would start with a foley bulb.  Go ahead, google that shit.  It's barbaric.  A catheter is rammed up my cervix (isn't this the story of my life?) and a balloon is inflated to manually dilate it.  Now, I've got a high pain tolerance, I've had in office hysteroscopies to treat Asherman's scar tissue without any anesthesia for fucks sake.  Well, this hurt.  Not unbearable crying pain (that comes later), but definitely unpleasant.  And I am basically chained to a bed with lots of IV lines and monitors at 6am.  Can I say how much inductions blow?

Ok, the bulb gets me to a 2.  My water is then broken (or at least, so we think, more on that later).  On to the pitocin we go.

I don't want to write a book about pitocin induced labor pains.  I'm sure someone has.  All I will say is HOLY MOTHER OF CHRIST.  Viking had never seen me in such a state.  The fuckhead even said, "you were quieter when you labored with Niblet."  NO SHIT.  Because pitocin is the devil.  That is all.

After surely looking like a possessed character in a 70s horror movie, all moaning and writhing and strapped to a fucking bed by IV lines, I beg for drugs.  It's too early for an epidural, so I first get a light narcotic to "take the edge off" - Stadol.  "You know how when you drink and you fall you don't feel pain?" the nurse says to me?  Bitch, my body is a fucking temple.  I haven't fallen while boozily lubricated on the street in like 15 years, what kind of mother do you think I am?

Let's just say that the stadol did NOTHING.  "Let me know when I need to advocate harder for you for the epidural,"Viking tries to helpfully offer.  Yeah Dude, you should get on that now.

It's now maybe 12 or 1 in the afternoon.  Viking is watching the monitor, all fascinated because he can see when I am contracting and isn't science cool?  "That was a long one," he says.  Yes asshole, I say to his face, that was indeed a long one.  And he laughs and calls himself Mr. Science to try to take the edge off that the Stadol couldn't, and I am officially crying and writhing in pain.  We are finally dilated to a four and the nurse runs fluids through me for an hour so I can get my precious precious spinal drug line.

Ok, so the epidural.  I've had one before, and as I've mentioned, I needed two tries.  Because apparently my back was "too muscular" to get a line in.  Dr. W thought this was total bullshit when I told her the story, "Maybe that guy was just a resident?  That shouldn't have happened."  Ahhh, not so fast.  Viking is bedside on a stool.  I am holding his hands and trying to breathe and count through contractions.  He gets a worried look on his face because this anesthesiologist ("she's new here," they tell me, "not new to anesthesiology of course, just new here") is taking a while.  She is poking and prodding, and asking if I can feel that SHARP JABBING PAIN and why, yes, yes I can.  When I should not be.  And whoa there's another pitocin contraction.  And this is just going on and on and on. And I stare into Viking's blue eyes, and wait, what the fuck, am I peeing on him, what was that GUSH?  Umm, no, apparently THAT is my water breaking, and oh look says the nurse, it appears as if there's meconium in there.  Sorry about those jeans Viking.

"Is this trouble related to the fact that my back is, ummm, sort of muscular?" I ask?  "Well, yes, I can't find a good space to insert the needle."

Twenty minutes after we began, the drip is in.  And I start feeling queasy.  Really queasy.  My blood pressure drops, and Nutmeg's blood pressure drops.  And the anesthesiologist sets the epidural level lower than usual, my BP (and Nutmegs) stabilizes, and I start to feel better.  (This will be a fun fact to remember in the next post, coming soon).

The edge has finally been taken off.  It's about 2:30 in the afternoon.  And I can nap.

Pre-labor ANXIETY

So, in the days leading up to my delivery, I was a fucking wreck.  A crying panicked mess.  Going through some mild braxton-hickish labor, but honestly, convinced that the scheduled induction set for Saturday January 20 would not only fail spectacularly, but in a way that the universe would give me the finger for thinking for even a moment that a blissfully easy pregnancy would lead to a living baby in my arms.  Or at a minimum, I could experience any of the clusterfucks of labor that are described on the birth boards.  I was set off by the tiniest things.  I was snapping at everyone and then bursting into tears, and then I would hide in my room like a 9 year old.

Viking wasn't having it.  Maybe he forgot my PPD after Niblet was born, maybe he forgot the level of PTSD I've experienced because the last 30 or so weeks were a cake walk for a recurrent loss mom like myself.  I don't know.  He's a solid loving guy, but he's not the most emotionally attuned dude on the planet.  Ultimately he wasn't helpful because he was basically all, like, "why are so you fucking crazy right now?"  I don't know asshole, perhaps because pushing a baby out on a round of pitocin sounds painful and scary as fuck?

The night before our induction I pulled myself the fuck together because my parents were coming to stay to watch the Nibble and the last thing anyone needed was their worry on this front.  They are a tad, well, smothering is the best word for it. In hindsight I wouldn't be surprised if some of Viking's ill-temper was related to their coming to stay. 

Friday came.  My parents came.  I pulled it together.  Niblet went to a school performance and I tried to temper all the crazy thoughts in my head and focus on the fact that I was in good medical hands.

All of this post is a cautionary tale to say that these demons haunt us to the end.  And that it's ok.  And hormones are the devil. And most importantly, stay off the interwebs before you're going to deliver a baby, the horror stories you'll google your way towards will make you wish the stork existed.

She's home

Nutmeg is home, safe and sound and beautiful. We are all in love.

I'm doing pretty well for feeling just a few days ago like I was run over by a truck and then having it back up over me again in reverse.  It's all good.

More posts to come.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

And now.... we wait

I cannot believe I am going to write the following words:  I am thirty-nine weeks pregnant.

Yesterday I said farethewell to my office.  My work-husband and friends took me out for lunch and I ate a ridiculous amount of spicy Ethiopian food (PSA - go for mild, the heartburn isn't worth the miniscule chance that you can jump-start labor).  I left all of my work in his capabale hands, and of course asked that he call me as much as possible to keep me in the loop of gossip and brainstorming for the next six months* because OCD.

I see Dr. W on monday, where we will learn whether my cervix of steel (can you believe it?) has budged.  If not, it's a scheduled induction in my future, likely a foley balloon.  You know why I love my doctor?  Because when I asked her for an explanation of the foley balloon, her exact words were "Yeah, it's fucking barbaric."  But waiting for Nutmeg after I hit forty weeks (friday) isn't an option, so barbaric obstetrical tools it may be.  As I write this I have the feeling that nothing is progressing.  Pretty much no braxton hicks going on here.  Viking and I took a walk today while Niblet was taking her ballet classes, and I plan on attempting a sort of modified hike tomorrow.  (And yes, we are attempting to sex this baby out of me and he is a fucking champ for a 47 year old). 

On other fronts, another co-worker just e-introduced me to - check this out - another 43 year old pregnant lady due at the end of January who lives maybe 15 minutes away, if that.  She's a musician and not from this country, and I just emailed her and was all "PLEASE please please be my friend cool musician lady." I know from my go-around with Niblet and PPD and birthing in the cold, dark, dead of winter that the isolation is the worst.  I've learned from those experiences and know that the more coffee dates I can set up after those first few weeks at home, the better I will fare.

So we wait.

* Yes, my leave is six months long.  There will be an essay on this topic, and what an insane stroke of luck I have working for such a generous employer.  My readers outside the US have no idea, I know.

Friday, January 5, 2018

and like *THAT* I'm fine

So I cancelled my chiropractor appointment because my back is miraculously healed.  Fuck if I know how or why.  I am thinking that maybe I did too much lifting last week?  Anyways, my hair color is refreshed, I am back to walking at my usual NYC speed, and things are good besides it being cold enough to freeze your face off outside. 

On other fronts, there's this semi-hilarious thread on the BBC January Birth Board, asking "how old is too old" to be pregnant.  You can just imagine the fun of this exercise.  Lots of 26 year olds on their second or third kid, aghast at the idea of being over 40 with a child.  My favorite response was this:

I am 26 with my second.
I think it's morally wrong to have kids when you reach 35. You need to think about your health and lifestyle instead of changing diapers. I always find it so sad when I see older women pregnant.
It's sick. 

My response:

Things that make me so sad:
 - Abused animals
- Homeless people without shelter in destructive storms
- Children who are abandoned and unloved.
Things that don't make me sad:
- Babies loved and nurtured by parents who happen to be over 35.
Now look,  Niblet will be having a long and hard conversation in her future about embarking on childbirth far sooner than me (if she is so inclined).  Because if I am a carrier for whatever genetic clusterfuck put me here, then she could be one too. 

But this notion that you're decrepit after 35 is sort of hilarious to me, especially since I live in an urban area where there are so many moms, even FTMs over 40.  Our economy is pretty much built on academics and PhDs, it's what you see in these parts.  Do I sometimes pause at the notion of having a kid in college when I'm 60?  Sure.  Am I particularly afraid of the age 60?  Ehhh, surprisingly no. 

"Grandma F doesn't seem 71 at all," Niblet was saying this morning.  "I thought she was in her fifties!  Same with Miss Holly (one of her dance teachers who is 70)."   I've always known that while in some critical ways I drew the genetic short straw, but in others I won the genetic jackpot.  Maybe because I've had too many people ask me if I plan on having another after this one is born.

I just feel so lucky to be in such exceptionally good health.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Dear Maternity Support Belt


And while I'm at it: 

Dear Car Defroster,

You really chose a bad time to stop working.  I hear that clicking sound behind the dashboard and OF COURSE there's nothing I can do about it now, I am certainly not taking you to the mechanic tomorrow when I am getting my hair color refreshed, because, hello, PRIORITIES.

Dear Ice Scraper,

I know you were likely manufactured in a factory in China by shivering starving workers, but you chose a shitty morning to split in half.  I think I threw out my already thrown out back by trying to scrape my windshield this morning using a little scrap of cardboard I found in my trunk. 

Dear Planet,

Stop fucking with me.  A BOMB CYCLONE?  This is what the latest weather system will be called to hit my region.  Are you fucking kidding me????

Monday, January 1, 2018

Dear Niblet (Happy 2018)

It's January 1, 2018, and I am so sorry you have the suckiest cold in the world.  But trust me, seriously, Mommy didn't want to go to that party with Dad anyway, everyone would have been drunk and annoying and I would have had to drive our tired asses home at night, and I'm 43 and my night vision sucks, and my back hurts, and curling up in bed with a trashy romance novel and falling asleep around 11 was TOTALLY the way to go this year.  I didn't lie at all when I told you that I will always be your mommy, and being your mommy includes wiping your snot and giving you tylenol and having your germ-ey self curl up next to me even when I am deathly afraid of catching whatever you have. 

I was staring at you this morning while you were sleeping and trying to breathe, and I couldn't believe I have you, that there's a gentle force in the universe that decided I should be your mother.  I mean, we all joke in our family that you have a face that belongs on a renaissance painting, which is shocking, given it's actually your Dad's goofy face, but so goes the great genetic crapshoot.  You are the reason why I am pregnant right now.  I love you so much - and shockingly I enjoy mothering you so much - that I needed to endure the indignities of pregnancy again.  The panic ridden ultrasounds, the morning sickness, the PIO injections, and now the excruciating pain of walking up a flight of stairs.... all of it is strangely attributable to the love I have for you.

You need to know and feel at your core that you have always been  - and will always be - enough.  There isn't another baby in the world to replace you or enhance you.  I used to wonder whether it was deeply fucked up that I wanted another so badly, because you are enough.  And while I used to get a kick out of imagining you as a big sister, I've never subscribed to the belief that creating siblings are a reason for procreation.  And yet, just a few short weeks away from meeting a sibling, I am excited at how excited you are at the prospect.  Because you will completely rock at this.

No, I think besides the inexplicable feeling that there is someone who has been missing from our household, there's the fact that you made it really fun to have a baby.  Now don't get all cocky, you were actually the most challenging baby in the world - the colic, the crying, the reflux, the temper, oh my god, you were not an easy baby by any stretch.   I had to wear you about 16 hours a day and we blew out a vacuum trying to satisfy your unrelenting need for white noise.  People came over to our house terrified of your colic - those screams.  Oh. My. God. And my PPD didn't help.  But your intelligence, the way you observed the world, jesus, what a trip. And I guess I must be a selfish mother, the ultimate narcissist, because I want to do it again. Despite the upheaval in our home, the craziness we are walking into willingly in our forties, the physical and emotional toll and face it the exhaustion we will all endure to keep another little human alive, here we are.

This will be a new baby, a new personality, a new set of adventures.  And I wouldn't want to embark on this adventure with anyone other than you by my side.  Nutmeg will be the luckiest sister in the world.