Thursday, June 22, 2017

Riding the Waves

We're not sure if you know this, but California (and much of the western U.S.) is in a crazy heatwave right now. On Father's Day it was 108 degrees! Our house is still a work in progress, and this heatwave week has turned out to be a particularly bad time to have no insulation in the attic. Thankfully, our air conditioning is working some and it hasn't gotten above the mid-80s inside the house.

Morning playground time on Father's Day - 6/18/2017

Speaking of the house, we are making some progress. Putting things on the walls, building closet organizers, buying patio furniture, and getting bids on turf were all big activities over the past month. We've both been able to stay pretty chill about the continued chaos, but impatience is starting to creep in. While not necessarily a bad thing (it will push us to manage the work and GET IT DONE), it does remind us that emotional regulation is a different beast after losing Oberon.

Obie and Evie newborn canvases - UP! 

In some ways, the enormity of Oberon's loss makes it easy to let the "small stuff" roll off our backs. It makes sense not to get wound up over things that don't really matter and simply let the waves wash over us. In other times, the exact opposite is true. For whatever reason, something gets stuck and we can't properly manage it. Being able to recognize those moments is helpful because we can clue each other in - "I know I'm overreacting, but this is really affecting me." But recognition doesn't always help with the internal struggle. Heart racing, stress mounting, tears welling, it can be hard to stop the spiral. Coping mechanisms that used to work (deep breaths, logic, talking about it) aren't reliable anymore.

Weathering the different types of waves is a learning process we'll be in the rest of our lives. Little waves we can ignore, little waves that compound and turn into huge waves, and legitimate tsunamis are all going to happen. Acknowledging that sometimes helps.

One set of waves we've been handling lately is a bit familiar. For the third time in four years, Elizabeth is pregnant. We are excited, yet measured. Hopeful, yet anxious. Things are so different from our first two pregnancies, but there is still familiarity.

Hard to see, but Elizabeth is holding Obie's O - so technically it is the five of us - 6/18/2017

There was still the early part of pregnancy when we didn't really believe it was happening. Especially this time because we were surprised with how quickly it happened.

The first trimester was a lot tougher on Elizabeth physically than with Oberon or Everett. She was nauseated a lot more and for a lot longer. Her belly "popped" a bit earlier as well, and it was difficult to keep it a secret for very long. We've had to manage the emotional response to telling people a little bit sooner than we had originally intended.

When the telling began - 4/27/2017

One thing that made us feel a (tiny) bit better about sharing the news was the Harmony Non-Invasive Prenatal Testing (NIPT) that we did early on. This test only checks for major chromosomal abnormalities, but it was nice to have something tangible during the first trimester. We found out that Bitty Beastie has the normal amount of chromosomes and we also found out that she's a girl!

Bitty needed souvenirs from her first Disneyland visit.

She's our first girl, and she's also the first girl (after many boys) on the Fiorani side. It's nice to have an excuse to buy some things specifically for Bitty. She'll use a lot (a LOT) of hand-me-downs, but she'll have some new things too.

In general, the waves of Bitty's pregnancy have been smaller and easier to handle than Everett's pregnancy. We've come up with lots of reasons for this, but who knows which one is really impacting our emotional state.
  • Easier physically: Now that the nausea has subsided (for the most part), Elizabeth is having a relatively easy time physically. Maybe it was the back-to-back pregnancies, maybe it's just different this time. So far, ancillary discomforts have been minimal.
  • Time is going faster: After Oberon died, time dragged. Each day felt like a marathon. That's less true now. We find we aren't always sure exactly what week of pregnancy it is, and sometimes we are surprised when we do the math. It's a nice difference.
  • Everett: For a couple of reasons, having Everett here (and healthy) is making this pregnancy less consistently stressful. Evie is growing and changing so much, and we are really enjoying parenting him. It's a lot of energy to take care of (and keep up with!) him, but it really does keep us from focusing too much internally.
Even with distractions and differences, there are still waves to handle. We have less time to focus on anxiety and worry, and that can start to feel like jinxing. In addition, it can lead to guilt about not focusing on the pregnancy and honestly guilt about not feeling as anxious. We don't know the outcome of this pregnancy, and ignoring that can feel wrong.

More big waves came as we had the anatomy scan. (Spoiler alert - no concerns identified!) The ultrasound technician asked Elizabeth whether she wanted to focus on anything specific given our history, and Elizabeth just started crying and couldn't speak. She pretty much cried through the whole appointment (luckily Chris is a good hand-holder). 

The technician and the doctor were both pretty gentle, but there are always words and phrases that just hit us in the heart. Although it was a tough day, the most important thing is that Bitty looks healthy. 

Another new thing for this pregnancy is that Chris is giving Elizabeth her weekly progesterone injections at home. For those of you who know Chris, he is really not a fan of needles so this is a big undertaking for him - and he's doing great.

If you've made it this far, congratulations! You get to find out Bitty's bug...although we think it's pretty obvious...

JJ paw photobombing the BittyBug

And her color is indigo. We've already started finding things in our three colors!