Mace One Month

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Our Macie is one month old as of yesterday. I thought I had easy babies in the past - they've got nothing on Baby Mace. He is so quiet, we sometimes forget he's in the room (which can actually sometimes be a little scary - for me at least). He is really cute and mellow. We are happy that the cross eyes he was born with are now in focus :) He nurses like a champ - sometimes cluster feeding for hours at a time. He is loved (sometimes a little too aggressively) by both his older brother and sister. And, although nobody else might agree - he reminds me of Max so deeply on a soul level. It's something I can't explain, call it mothers intuition - but there is some Max in Mace. I feel it. Still, he continues to look most like Mo. We can't wait to see who this little guy becomes. He's just dreamy!!!

Here is the terrible one month photo I took earlier today and below are BEAUTIFUL photos taken by my nanny (who doesn't know yet that she has a children's photography career in her future)!

Macie's Bris

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

It definitely takes me a lot longer to post about our experiences these days. I see this as a positive - that my life is actually SO busy and full that I have less time to focus my attention on the blog. I know I've said it before - but I never could have imagined this much activity and this much joy coming back into my life. As hard as this new chapter is (logistically), I am beyond grateful.

Mace's bris was last Monday. It was such a special occasion for SO many reasons. First of all, it was our opportunity to introduce Mace to so many friends and family members. It is a nice way to celebrate this new life and for people to come see the baby and visit us without everyone we know trying to find a time to come over. Not that we wouldn't want to have special time with everyone BUT, it just isn't practical. And the event is much more festive than just sitting around in the living room while we feed kids and change diapers. 

Macie's bris was at my moms house. Since we've been living here, it just made sense to do it here. I love my moms house and it is a great place for gatherings and parties. We were really happy and so appreciative to do it here. And since my dad hosted Maxie's bris, and we had Mo's at our house, I think mymom was actually happy to have a turn herself. 

Another really special piece of Macie's bris for Ted and I was having the same Moyel who performed Maxie's bris. Dr. Shpall talked me off a very scary ledge before Maxie's bris. The whole practice of a bris felt very ancient, unnecessary and barbaric to me and I was dreading the deed. He sensed my apprehension and spoke to me about how the tradition would link our little boy to our heritage for thousands of generations backwards and forward in time. He told us to really pause and let the moments of the event sink in and to remember that it was special and worth being present for. I have felt so grateful for that reality check in the years since losing Max. There is no way we could have known that it would be the only opportunity in Maxie's short life that we got to celebrate him with him, since he never had even one birthday. I almost let the event be something that I just "got through" but it ended up being something I relished. I will be forever thankful for that. He (the Moyel) wasn't available for Mo's bris. We were so glad he was available for Mace's.

We also were excited to use the opportunity of Macie's event to celebrate Myla. We didn't do a "baby naming" for her because she was converted in the mikveh, where she was also named. The mikveh is in a small room and so we really only invited our close family to that ceremony. It was cute having her "introduced" along with her younger brother. Ted and our Moyel incorporated her into the ceremony along with Mo. One of the most special moments of the evening was when Mo grabbed Myla affectionately during a blessing and started speaking baby talk to her. You could feel the love that they have for each other. It was really sweet.

Lastly, and oddly enough, this was the first bris that I had fun at. I was too postpartum overwhelmed to have fun at Maxie's bris (even if I did really appreciate the moment). I was too deep in grief at Mo's bris to feel celebratory - too worried Mo wasn't going to live to be able to fully celebrate his arrival. But this time, I felt relaxed and happy and celebratory. I think by the fourth child, newborns just don't feel that daunting anymore......Or something.

Anyway, as I said at Mace's bris to our guests, "Have girls". The brises of my boys have been special for sure, but are definitely something I am glad to never have to experience with my own children again (bc we aren't having any more).

Myla Ten Months Old

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Myla was 10 months old on Sunday. She's growing up so quick. She gets cuter every day. She has been kind of uncomfortable lately - she just got her first tooth and the second is coming through. She also wants to crawl and move SO badly and is constantly frustrated that she can't do much more than roll on her own. This all makes for some sleepless nights and a lot of squirming and fussiness. I haven't had a baby that has had it all at once like this before. It's hard to see her so uncomfortable. I'm just praying this stage passes quickly and that next month I'll be reporting on her crawling all over the place. Generally she is a very happy baby. She's really into daddy right now and I'm pretty sure she's been saying "Dadda" a lot. We adore this little girl.

Here goes it:

*We are temporarily living at my moms house and so not only could I not find my usual blanket, but the lighting is also much different for our photo shoot. 


Friday, February 27, 2015

I'm definitely an epidural kind of gal. I have a pretty high threshold for pain but honestly, I'd rather avoid it. Mace's birth was a scheduled induction. My doctor felt that he'd be another big baby (Mo was 9.5 pounds) and, as he put it, he felt that "there was something to be said for sexual function and bladder control". I agreed -"sign me up", I said. My friend and doula, Courtney (who was at Mace's birth as well as Mo's) explained to me that a pitocin labor is synthetic and that I shouldn't be surprised if the contractions felt stronger and came on faster than with Max. She was right - It was fast and angry. The contractions were relentless. I was in agony but my doctor told me to wait for the epidural because it could slow down the progress or stop it entirely. I didn't wait long, but I waited and during that agonizing wait, all of my grief (which I mostly keep neatly stuffed down I to my inner core) came storming to the surface. 

Labor, if you've ever been in it, feels (to me) like the physical manifestation of grief.

Nurses telling me to breathe through it, reminding me to take one contraction at time, and that this will pass. Lying there unable to hear them...the pain so great, so relentless. The sound of my own heavy breathing, the sensation of my pounding heart drowning out every other noise. Literally wondering how I could possibly get through one more minute...unable to use sensitivity in telling someone not to touch me or to back off. It literally felt just like the long, long year and beyond - of grief. I found myself crying, not because of the pain of giving birth, but because of the pain of losing Max. Awful and heavy and I just couldn't process it. I haven't even really tried since either because now I mostly just feel bliss at Mace's being here. 

Unlike the pain of childbirth, which goes away, and which you eventually do mostly forget. The pain of child loss never goes away and often comes back in heavy waves - like being right back in the middle of contractions. My heart breaking and relentlessly pounding - sending waves and waves of pain through my soul - just as intensely as it did in those early, early days and months all over again.

Mace Jacob Leviss

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Our third little boy, and fourth baby, entered the world yesterday. Mace Jacob Leviss. He is 7.11 pounds and 20.5 inches. He looks so much like big brother Mo. In fact, we think he looks more like Mo than Mo did when he was born! Super cute and pretty hungry - we love him so much!!


Thursday, February 19, 2015

I can't say that Ted and I would have ever chosen to have two children nine months apart or three under the age of three. Don't get me wrong, of course we are grateful and excited. I just don't think this timing would have been the plan - had we actually "planned" it.

You may remember that we had been trying to get pregnant for over a year. We had also been hoping to adopt during that period. We were thrilled to find out last April that we'd been matched with a family for adoption, and had I actually brought Myla home from Georgia after she was born, I'm sure we would have stopped trying to get pregnant naturally.

But I didn't get to come home with Myla. We felt defeated and crushed and frankly, more determined than ever to get pregnant. Within a week I had an appointment with a wonderful fertility specialist (ask me if you are interested in knowing who). She identified a small irregularity in my ovulation cycle and I took a few weeks of herbs that seemed to correct the issue. Either that or it was just luck that had me pregnant within a month of Myla's birth. It turned out that by the time she finally came to live with us in July, I was already pregnant. Having had a few miscarriages, I didn't really know whether this pregnancy would stick or not - but, obviously, it has! 

You often hear about the couple that tried and tried and tried to get pregnant naturally and finally did, right after they adopted. People like to attribute this phenomenon to a sudden lack of stress around the pregnancy issue. This is not our story. I can honestly say that my stress levels surrounding the issue increased after returning home from Georgia empty handed. I partly want to tell you that in case you are beating yourself up over being stressed about not getting pregnant. As my doctor has always said: women manage to get pregnant during war, genocide and famine. Stop beating yourself up.

We are very, very excited about our new arrival. We can't wait to see his little face, hug him and hold him. But, I'd be lying to you if I didn't mention that it's also pretty daunting! Mo is in preschool, we have a nanny, and I will be out on maternity leave. Of course we will manage - but it's still kind of daunting. 

We may not have chosen this timing but if things hadn't happened exactly the way they did, we wouldn't be looking forward to another little boy this next week. We may not be looking forward to this exact little boy. I don't believe that "everything happens for a reason" anymore since losing Max. But in this case, things happened so that one more baby boy could join our family and so that my two little sweet peas would have another friend for life, to play with, confide in, share with (hopefully - eventually) and love. I know these guys won't complain, and even if I do - I wouldn't have it any other way.


Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Dayenu - HEBREW for "it would have been enough". 

We Jews sing this song, "Dayenu", at Passover as a reminder of all of the miracles that came with our release from Egypt - ie: "if g-d had only just taken us out of Egypt - it would have been enough"; "if g-d had only given us the land (of Israel) - it would have been enough".... You get the picture.  If we'd just been given even one of these things - it would be more than enough - but we got so much more.  The song is repetitive and tune-less.  By the end - Dayenu - I've generally had enough.

Today I am taking the liberty to use Dayenu in a different context.  I've been impressed at how well Ted and I have actually managed to ride this crazy train that we are currently on, but once in a while the waves of overwhelmedness are a little much.  We take on too much as it is, but our timing - holy cow - it's the worst.  Like, when we were knee-deep in a kitchen remodel when Max came a month early.  Or, when we decided to go into escrow on our house just weeks before leaving for Costa Rica to get married.  These are all good things - but stressful on their own.  Hence - Dayenu.  Right now, we are living in layer upon layer of it:

1) If only our house was in escrow - Dayenu
2) If only the house Ted was working on was in the final stages with a deadline of my due date - Dayenu
3) If only I had what seems like 5 million deadlines for work in the next month - Dayenu
4) If only we were just moving into my mother's house for the next 2-3 months - Dayenu
5) If only we didn't have a clue where we were moving to after that - Dayenu
6) If only I was 37 weeks pregnant (and my doctor was expecting that I'd go into labor any day now...) - Dayenu
7) If only my beloved pup, Jake, had a growing and bleeding tumor in his mouth and we knew the end was near - Dayenu
8) If only Myla was 9 months old - Dayenu
9) If only we were about to start a new chapter in our lives with 3 kids under 3 - DAYENU!!!!

We often wonder if we are secretly craving this kind of chaos - I sure hope not.
Dayenu - I definitely need a break!

Myla Nine Months Old

Monday, February 2, 2015

Our Myla turned 9 months old yesterday.  9 months old carries so much weight for us, but ignoring that for now - I will focus on Myla and who she is today!  She is a happy girl (I'm repetitive, I know, but it is the best way to describe her).  She is good at sitting up, though still tumbles over from time to time.  Seemingly no interest in crawling but loves assisted standing and pulling herself to peek over the side of her crib in the morning.  She has NO TEETH.  I'm told this is no biggie.  She LOVES eating food herself (one of the reasons I wish she would get a tooth or two) - mostly puffs, teething biscuits and cheerios.  She loves to stare people down until they make eye contact with her and then she flashes her gigantic smile.  She is SO into Mo - anything he does is funny and special in her eyes.  She is also already a daddy's girl.  Ted carries her around on his shoulders around the house and she looks so proud.  She also started sleeping through the night this past month - HALLELUJAH!  She is the cutest.  Honestly.


Thursday, January 29, 2015

At times it feels like life started for me on July 19th, 2011.  And, in some ways, it did.  There have been many, many pivotal times that came before that date - but none that so fully changed the entire makeup of my being like that one day and all of the days that have come since.  The memories of my life before that date often feel like the memories of a stranger - as if I'd read them in a book or seen them in a movie.  I know that they exist, but I have a hard time reconciling the truth of the fact that they actually belong to me.  I know that on the surface, there is so little difference between the old me and the new me but the fact is that every little piece of me has been permanently altered.  And so oddly, only the memories that have existed over the past 3 and a half years feel like they are really mine.  They are the only memories I "own".  I have spent countless hours of my time trying to analyze what this is all about and why this is how I feel, but I don't come up with much that makes sense.  Only that that other person, the one I was, is someone I hardly know now and so her memories are just that - hers.  To me they are like stories told by an old friend - and what is most troubling about it for me is that Max's chapter belongs to her (and not me). 

Mo's favorite things

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Mo's teachers had all of the kids tell them all about themselves. The answers to the questions they asked were posted on the walls of the classroom as a surprise for the parents who visited the school last night for Back to School night. This was just too awesome not to share:

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