Tag Archives: pregnancy

When Should You Announce You’re Pregnant?

pregnancyannouncement

First of all, WE’RE PREGNANT!

Telling loved ones and friends the big news is one of the happiest things I can think of, because everyone is just so ecstatic. Pure, unmitigated joy complete with screaming, hugs, smiles, and tears. And I was very grateful to have received that in spades this week when we announced the impending arrival of our third child. Everyone was overwhelmingly positive and thrilled, and I appreciate that.

And yet…

A few emails and comments began trickling in to the tune of “Ummmm, September? You guys can’t be very far along,” and “Wow, you’re announcing early. Are you sure you want to do that?”

Look, MJ and I get it. This is the eighth time she has been pregnant. Yup, eight times. That means twice it’s worked out favorably, but five times thus far it hasn’t. We’re no stranger to this particular rodeo and we know the ropes. You can either announce shortly after you pee on the stick and hope for the best, or you can go the more conservative route and wait until the 12-week mark — which is when the chances of miscarriage drop dramatically.

We’ve done both over the years. There were times we announced a pregnancy early on and then had to painstakingly break the bad news to everyone all over again. That sucks because invariably someone doesn’t get the news and proceeds to come up to you in a month or two and ask how the pregnancy is going. It’s brutal. So because of that, we’ve also opted to wait to announce until the second trimester. That has its own drawbacks though, because I’m a very public person and that just means less time for people to celebrate and share in your joy.

And of course, even when we did wait until after 12 weeks, we still had something go wrong and still had to feel like we were disappointing everyone by telling them bad news. So, that begs the question, when should you announce?

The correct answer is whenever the hell you feel like it!

There is no right or wrong time to announce your pregnancy, and you should do it how and when you feel is right. We’re just about 8 weeks along and we decided to share the news because we saw the heartbeat on the ultrasound and it was a very strong 157 bpm. Our doctor said everything looks terrific and there are no concerns at the moment. So instead of waiting until 12 weeks just because we’ve had bad luck in the past, we decided to just focus on being happy.

For me, good news is always good news. Even if something happens down the road and we lose this pregnancy, it was still good news when we announced. It was still a happy event that brought us and others joy. Nothing can take away the feeling I had when all of our anxiety and fear was alleviated by the flickering of a tiny beating heart, so I choose to celebrate that instead of keeping it needlessly bottled up out of fear. Because good news should always be celebrated and shared in my opinion.

I don’t judge anyone else who waits and takes a different course. I’ve been there, done it, and understand it. But for us at this point in time, we’re celebrating. We’ve had so many dark times and losses that we never miss an opportunity to celebrate a win.

So we’re 8 weeks along. We’re due September 11 (yeah yeah, I know). We will not be finding out if this will be our third boy or our first girl. And if you’re wondering how Will is reacting to the news, well — we videotaped the moment we told him and let’s just say it didn’t go as expected.

Share Button

Should We Have Another Baby?

mjpregs

It was the first really warm day in April. Winter finally released New England from its icy grasp and nature was set free to bloom. Everything was new and the leaves were green in their infancy, and people left their houses, looked around, and smiled while taking in deep breaths of unadulterated spring.

Will and I had just tried our hand at trout fishing, with no luck. But despite the zero tally regarding the fish count, we rewarded ourselves with a trip to the local hot dog stand for footlongs and fries.

After placing our order, Will bolted to the playground while I sat at a picnic table waiting for our number to be called. I briefly turned my head toward the sky and smiled, then glanced toward my oldest who was already making his way across the monkey bars. My old middle school loomed in the background behind my son — an eerie juxtaposition of new and old, past and present.

It dawned on me we were eating at a place I loved in my youth, in front of a school MJ and I attended for three years. At 11 years old I had already met my future wife, despite the fact she’d move away and I’d go four years without seeing her. Then, nine years ago, MJ and I drove to that very school during a blizzard just minutes after I asked her to marry me. We danced together in the empty parking lot, snow swirling around us and flickering in the headlights.

I was lost in thoughts of storms, tranquility, past, and present when my phone rang. Fittingly enough, it was MJ.

“Perfect timing,” I said, skipping over the hello. “I was just sitting at the hot dog stand with Will and looking at the middle school and thinking about us and everything…”

She cut me off before I could finish, and I could immediately tell she was in a panic.

“Come home now. I’M FUCKING PREGNANT!”

**********************************

It’s not like we hadn’t discussed having a third child. Of course we had. It’s just that those discussions never ended with any kind of firm answer.

I think if you forced her to answer, MJ wanted another baby. As for me, well…I was truly torn. Do I want a daughter? Yes. But do I really want to go through the newborn phase again when I had such a tough time emotionally with Sam? Honestly, I don’t think so. Besides, we have terrible luck with pregnancies not to mention no room in our duplex (or our budget) for a third kid.

Also, three sounds like a lot.

I talk to parents with three kids and they’re straight up harried. Not like normal parent harried, but “tear your hair out holy crap I need six more hours in the day” kind of stressed. Three is a lot. Three’s company. Three is being forced to abandon man-to-man defense and go with zone. Simply put, three is scary.

So I told MJ the truth — I don’t honestly know how I’d react to a third kid until I was actually put in the situation.

**********************************

My first, split-second reaction was shock. Pure shock. And fear.

We can’t afford this baby. We weren’t trying for this baby. How the hell did we even get pregnant when I have a condition that gives us roughly a 2% chance of conceiving on our own without IVF? Where would the baby sleep? What would I ever do with a daughter? What the hell will I ever do with three boys? And it was all made worse by the fact that my wife was in hysterics, I wasn’t with her, and I had to keep it all together in front of Will.

I quickly collected our food and my son, and we hopped in the car to head home. I passed the middle school, I remembered dancing in the snow, I saw my oldest in the rearview mirror, and I looked at the picture on my phone of Sam.

And then I busted out laughing.

Not a giggle or a chuckle, mind you. I started belly laughing my ass off. Uncontrollable bursts of hearty laughter usually reserved for my favorite comedies. Will was looking at me like I was nuts, but for the life of me I couldn’t stop. I was laughing so hard I started crying, yet I was also wearing an ear to ear grin. As I pulled into the driveway, I laughed once more because I quickly realized I had answered my own question.

**********************************

Our baby had a due date of December 25. A Christmas baby. Our gift.

We brought Sam to the OB appointment partly because we didn’t have a babysitter (because we didn’t tell anyone the news), but also as a good luck charm — even if neither of us would admit it. Because if you’re new to these parts, we’re well-versed in miscarriages and pregnancy loss. Four miscarriages in as many years. A medically necessary abortion due to a fetal abnormality at 16 weeks. Not good.

Despite having two beautiful boys and having been through the wringer, being in that room with the ultrasound tech didn’t get any easier.

MJ hopped on the table while Sam bounced on my knee. The grainy image began to take focus on the small screen as I held Sam with one hand and took MJ’s in the other. Sam cooed and raised his hand to the screen, reaching out in an attempt to touch it. His little cherubic fingers finally found the glass, and he started tapping at it.

Right at the void where a flickering heartbeat should have been.

 **********************************

We’re fine. Really, we are.

I don’t know why or how we’ve lost five pregnancies in the seven years we’ve been trying to have kids. But you know what? I don’t know how I became so blessed to have the two unbelievable boys who call me dad. A lot of people would say we’re unlucky, but we’re not. If anything, we’re incredibly fortunate to have the life we do. To have our happy and healthy sons.

I don’t know if we’ll have another baby. That will most likely involve IVF and all the risks, effort, and potential for disappointment and heartbreak that carries with it. But at the very least, I now have an answer to the question.

I’d be thrilled to have another baby. As if there was really any other answer.

Share Button

Men and Miscarriage: It’s Time to Include Dads in the Conversation

depressed_manI felt scared, depressed, angry, heartbroken and utterly confused. Not that anyone ever asked.

Such is the case for many men like myself, whose partners suffer multiple miscarriages while hoping to start, or expand, their families. Perhaps it’s because miscarriage is still a taboo topic people are uncomfortable addressing publicly, and even when it is discussed the conversation almost never includes men and their feelings. That’s understandable to a point, since this loss is, and always will be, harder for women who have to physically and mentally endure the anguish of losing a very wanted baby.

But I’m here to personally tell you men hurt, too. And it’s time we start talking about it.

Read the rest of my article at iVillage.com by clicking here!

Share Button

Thank You People of the Internet

final_mj_bellyIn nine hours my beautiful wife and I will head to the hospital where she will give birth to our second child. But for those of you who have followed our story for the past few years, you know that barely scratches the surface of our long, painful journey.

When you’re dealing with multiple miscarriages things get pretty awful in a hurry. And when you’re hit with a 1-in-100,000 fetal abnormality incompatible with life, combined with the heartlessness of pro-life protesters verbally accosting us on one of the worst days of our lives, it’s enough to send you careening over the edge of sanity. And that’s to say nothing of the hundreds of trolls who badgered me after the video went viral. I got fresh hate mail just this afternoon, more than three years removed from the event.

When politics and religion combine, things get nasty. And I stood for a good long while just staring at dark side of the Internet, which acts as a safe haven for anonymous Internet cowards with too much time of their hands and hate in their hearts. And let me tell you, it’s pretty easy to succumb to the noise and let the venom overwhelm you. It’s like you’re lost while driving at night, and you haven’t seen another car in so long that you’re happy just to see headlights — even if it means they’re barreling down to destroy you.

But right about then, something amazing happened. You guys showed up and saved the day.

Seriously, thank you. Thank you to each one of you fucking glorious souls who reached out to us and supported us one way or another. To the strangers who took up fighting the trolls when I couldn’t stomach it any longer. To the random people who sent us e-mails sharing your own heartbreaking stories to let me know MJ and I weren’t alone. To the folks who left comments telling us to hang in there. To the people who sent us cards and gifts. All of you. Each of you. Each and every one of you who went out of your way to take the time to give a stranger comfort should know that your actions are nothing short of heroic.

At a time when we needed some hope and support, you denizens of the Internet picked us up and enveloped us in a virtual bear hug of love. You did more than leave a comment or shoot over an e-mail. You showed us decency when all we could see was hatred and misery, and rekindled my faith in the basic goodness of people. Simply put, you had our backs. And for that I’m forever thankful.

And yet you weren’t done there.

When we announced we were pregnant with this baby, you rallied the troops again and lifted us up once more. You carried us through our self-doubt and our fears of something going wrong again. You nurtured us every step of the way, and kept checking in to make sure we were OK. You invested yourself in our lives, and for the life of me I can’t think of anything more meaningful than that.

Facing steep odds is difficult no matter what, but I can’t tell you how much it helps to have you guys in our corner. Seriously. When I posted this afternoon about MJ being induced tomorrow, I teared up as I read comment after comment from you guys congratulating us and wishing us well. Having an army of support behind us has made all the difference in the world. And I owe you.

I mean that too. Some of you have reached out to talk about this and that over the years and I love it. Please don’t ever hesitate to drop me a line, because if I can help I will. If MJ can help she will. You guys held us close and helped us every step of the way, and I will spend my entire life trying to pay you back in spades.

At some point tomorrow I will post a picture of our new son or daughter. It will list a name, length, and weight. What it won’t say — but what I’m saying right now — is thank you. And we couldn’t have done it without you. I fucking love you guys. A lot.

Now let’s celebrate!

Share Button

7 Reasons Not to Find Out the Sex of the Baby

boy_or_girlThe big day is drawing near and I’m freaking out with anticipation and excitement. Excitement about completing our family for one, but also because I’ll finally get the answer to a very important question — are we having a boy or a girl?

Yup, that’s right. We didn’t find out. That’s a decision that has drawn some mixed reactions and opinions to say the least, but it’s one MJ and I stand behind 100%. As I’ve mentioned before, I didn’t always feel this way. In fact, it was the cause of much marital strife with Will because I wanted to know the sex and MJ didn’t. At first I was ridiculously angry, but she kept on telling me how great of a surprise it’d be and that it was worth the wait. I didn’t believe her, but she was so right. It was absolutely fantastic.

Yet out of all the questions people asked us during this pregnancy, the #1 query by far was “HOW CAN YOU POSSIBLY WAIT TO FIND OUT?” and “WHY IN HOLY HELL WOULD YOU NOT FIND OUT?!” Well, here are seven answers.

7. The Old Wives’ Tales
In the absence of a conclusive ultrasound, people never cease to surprise me with their methods of determining whether we’re having a boy or a girl. People say if you’re “carrying high” it’s a girl, and low means boy. They ask MJ what foods she’s been craving and if she mentions something sweet, they automatically say girl while sour equals boy. It’s really quite interesting to hear the theories bandied about by these baby soothsayers, which all seem to have been handed down by grandparents and great-grandparents and are NEVER wrong. In fact, 50% of the time they guess right EVERY time.

6. Delaying Stupid Stereotypes
If we found out the sex at 18 weeks that means I’d have 22 weeks to listen to people moronically babble on about what it means to have a boy or girl. If people knew we were having another boy it’d be “Oh man, MJ is gonna be so outnumbered” and “Oh…well when are you going to try for the girl?” And if it’s a girl I’d be fed a steady diet of “HAHAHAHA!! I knew the universe would seek its revenge on you!” and “I know you hate guns, but you’re gonna need one before she starts dating.” Either way, boy or girl, I hate that shit. It’s boring, played out, and often insulting. Not finding out the sex cuts off this avenue of discussion completely.

5. Cuts Down on Disappointment
Sure you might be hoping for a boy or a girl, and the common argument is if you find out at 18 weeks then you get the disappointment out of the way and have time to wrap your head around it. But I disagree. Even if you were hoping for a girl but get a boy and you don’t find out until he/she arrives, you’re too blown away by what just happened and caught up in the joy of the moment to give a shit whether you got what you wanted. You’re just thankful for what you’re holding in your hands. Same goes for relatives. It’s a lot more difficult for your mother-in-law to express her disappointment when you hand her her brand new grandchild.

4. Added Motivation in the Delivery Room
This one is mainly for the ladies. Childbirth is pretty painful stuff as you’re trying to squeeze a large object out a much smaller opening. But my wife told me she kept pushing steadily through the pain in large part because she was so motivated to finally find out the sex of the baby. Who knows, that ounce of added motivation just might be the thing that gets you geared up for that final tough push.

3. No Pink or Blue
If you have a boy people will buy you a ton of blue shit with footballs and baseballs on them. If you have a girl, I guarantee you your baby shower will look like a bottle of Pepto Bismol exploded and hosed everything down in a sea of pink princesses. And if you’re anything like me, you hate the idea of being pigeonholed. By not finding out the sex, you effectively force people to think at least a little bit outside the box and consider things that are gender neutral. Lots of greens, yellows, and reds — all absent the gender stereotypes parents like myself and MJ are trying to move away from in general.

2. It Pisses People Off
I’ve written about this before but it bears repeating. Some people — especially the control freaks and rabid planners out there — need as much information as possible at all times. And I’ve discovered they don’t just need it for themselves, they need other people to have it too. I’m serious. I’ve talked to people who literally get hives when we tell them we’re waiting, because the mere thought of not knowing drives them into a panic. We’ve even had people tell us we are wrong and that we’re ridiculous for not finding out. Making people uncomfortable and bucking societal norms is basically a part-time job for me, so the contrarian in me revels in their obvious discomfort. Try it, I highly recommend it.

1. It’s a Surprise Like No Other
Some people will say it’s a surprise no matter when you find out. That’s true, it is. But for me personally, there’s never been a happier, more exciting, cooler surprise than jockeying for position in the delivery room to see whether I had a son or a daughter. It’s already such a magical moment watching new life enter the world, and the fact that I’m finding out for the first time whether I have a new son or daughter just magnifies the moment exponentially. There is nothing that’s equaled that feeling in my life, and I can’t wait to experience it again soon.

Of course, all of this advice is moot since I’m 100% convinced we’re having another boy. I know because MJ is carrying low.

Share Button