Sunday, July 26, 2015

Sharing Stories of Miscarriage

Two of my blogging friends, actually both participants in my Having It All Project, have recently had miscarriages. It's a topic I've thought a lot about since the BlogHer/She Knows wrap up party after the Boston Listen To Your Mother show, when I was interviewed and asked about why I started blogging. I told a version of the story below, which I also left as a comment on one of my friend's blogs. I thought last weekend at BlogHer that the footage might appear somewhere, and I had only said in the interview that "I'd suffered a loss." I'd been preparing myself to have to explain what loss that was, but the moment never came. Seeing the bravery with which my friends have shared their recent stories, I've decided to share a bit of mine. Here's the comment I'd left for my friend.


I lost a pregnancy at 10 weeks back in 2006. I started bleeding on a Friday night, and after a series of hospital and doctor visits, I had a D&C the following Thursday. So much of that week, all of these years later, stands in high relief in my memory.

I had told everyone, including almost 3yo Hannah, that we were expecting. I'm terrible at secrets, and I'd never had a fertility issue, I was only 28, I thought everything would be totally fine. I didn't think I knew anyone who had ever had a miscarriage before. I was so embarrassed to have to tell everyone afterward. At least Hannah seemed to understand it at the time.

I had to take a full week off from work. Since I had to wait to get an appointment for the D&C, I was scared to go to work and lose the baby there. Or on the train. So I stayed home. I told my (not current) boss, and his assistant send a plant. I threw it away. My best friend sent me the first season of "The OC" to pass the time. I never opened the shrink wrap (sorry, J). What I did do was to search the Internet relentlessly for blogs and articles on miscarriage. I needed to know that others were like me. And that somehow, life would go on.

I started my blog a few months later. I haven't ever really written much about my miscarriage, though there are references to it here and there. But I wanted to give something back to the forum that had given so much to me when I was so shattered.

I got pregnant again a month later. Had I not lost that baby, the one that was born would never had been possible. I still wonder about the baby due on 7/7/07. I always will. But the kid born the following New Year's Day is really awesome.

I guess all of this is to say what you already know, which is that you're not alone. It's a club far too many of us become members of along the way. I applaud you for sharing it like this, and you should know that some day, someone might be looking for an article just like this one, and she'll be very glad that it's there.


So just in case that someone doesn't find my friend's blog, and stumbles across this one instead, the story is here too.

Monday, July 13, 2015

5 Things I'm Looking Forward to After Our Renovation

The new, unpainted back of my house. Note the old red paint on the right.

About six weeks ago, at the start of June, I told you all that we were six weeks into renovating our house. So that means we're now 12 weeks in, and my husband Marc wrote a post on *his* blog about some of the details that I didn't share in mine. Like who we used for an architect, how we've made decisions so far, and a rough estimate of how much this all costs.

Go ahead. Click over. I'll wait.

Twelve weeks in means we're at a stage where daily progress is harder to see, or at least less interesting to take a picture of, I guess. There are new pipes and valves. Windows are in, but they mostly look like regular windows. Boxes for light switches and outlets are waiting for the finished light switches and outlets.

Twelve weeks in also means I can't find any scissors. Anywhere. I know we should have multiple pairs, and I guess there's the kitchen shears meant for cooking if I'm really desperate. But I'd rather go with things left uncut.

So despite steady daily progress and what seems to be the hardest working building crew I've ever encountered, we're still not done and I'm kinda ready to be done. As Marc mentioned, we've really been looking forward to making many of these changes for NINE YEARS. That's a lot of waiting. So to get me through these last few weeks of waiting, here's a list of what will be super awesome about our new home.

1. The window seat. It's silly, but going back to when I would read angsty-middle-school-girl books and the characters always sat somewhere cozy reading their own angsty-middle-school-girl books, I've longed for a window seat, with lots of colorful, comfy pillows collected from all over. Hannah and Max are already calling the new living room space the Reading Room, and I seriously can't wait for a rainy Saturday afternoon where we all grab a spot and read a book. (Please do not ruin this dream for me by stating how unlikely it actually is to happen that way!)

Getting closer to my window seat.
2. First floor washer and dryer. Our basement is basically a hole dug under a house. Well, okay, it has a cement floor, but that's the only amenity one could try to claim. For nine years, I've owned the same yucky pair of Crocs for going down to the basement to do laundry. For the past five years, since my back surgery, I've feared carrying laundry up and down the narrow basement stairs. No freaking more. I might burn the Crocs.

3. First floor bathroom. I think I can just say "no more close calls" and leave it at that.

Our front hall closet will soon be a bathroom.

4. A walk-in closet. Honestly, it's never really been something I dreamed about having. We had a decent one in our condo, and when we moved to the house without one, I wasn't crushed. But now I'm really, really looking forward to having a place big enough for all of my clothes such that I won't have to swap items out each season. Bonus: lots of space to store all my extra diabetes supplies.

5. A real space for me to call my own. I'll be getting some kind of desk/vanity area in our master bedroom, and when it becomes a reality, I think I'll probably cry. Other than my half of the bed, which is where I'm writing this blog post, where I blow dry my hair and do my make up each morning, and where I spend an inordinate amount of my time in this house, I've never really had much room dedicated to me.

A corner all my own. Eventually.
And there really is so much more. Hannah's new room and improvements to Max's room. New heat (no more radiators!) and central air conditioning. Being able to walk the first floor of the house in a giant circle. Better access to our back door. Finally bothering to decorate our master bedroom. Fun new lighting.

I'm so grateful to be able to do this Big Build, and grateful to have Marc as a partner helping me to figure all of it out. We've had a great first nine years in this house, and I'm ready for many, many more.

Imagine all of that wood becoming a closet, bathroom and master bedroom.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Seeking Inspiration at #BlogHer15

In just under two weeks, I'll be in New York City, attending my fourth blogging conference and third BlogHer. My train ticket is bought, new business cards are on their way, and I think I'll come up with some version of an outfit plan in the next few days (what to wear is a big deal with this group). I know I'll be attending the Voices of the Year reception, the highlight of the conference for me, and I'll be stopping by the Listen To Your Mother open mic afterward. I'm even a bit excited for the closing party with Boyz II Men.

But I'm absolutely aimless when it comes to the rest of the agenda.

Don't get me wrong; I'm sure there are many things I could learn to improve my blog, but I'm not totally sure this old dog wants to learn any new tricks. I don't monetize, I'm not trying to win at Instagram, I doubt I'll be the one to come up with some bit of hashtag activism. If I haven't found my online voice after eight years of writing here, it's unlikely to come to me while attending a session. So why go?

I go for the inspiration. Each conference I've attended has brought something new and dynamic into my life. At Springboard in 2012, I conceived and developed The Having It All Project, a series of 50 interviews that took me through all of 2013. At BlogHer13 in Chicago, I got the courage to apply to bring Listen To Your Mother to Boston. 2014's BlogHer in San Jose led me to pitch my writing to BlogHer itself and a couple of paid opportunities there, plus it solidified a tribe of like-minded writers and friends.

I know I need a new project. These last few months I've felt aimless, despite everything keeping me busy with work, the kids and the house renovation. I know I need something new, but I haven't figured out what it is just yet. So maybe I'll find it in the halls of midtown Hilton. Maybe in a conversation with someone new. Maybe in a quiet moment where I have the time and space away from work, the kids and the house. Maybe in the throng of one of the biggest, most diverse communities where I've come to feel at home.

So bring it, BlogHer15. I'm ready.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Half Life

Copley Square, one recent morning.
Today, exactly half my life ago, according to Microsoft Excel's day count function, I moved in to my freshman year dorm room in the suburbs of Boston. So now I've officially lived in Boston for longer than I lived in Cleveland.

I remember being in the car with my Mom when she observed that it was some anniversary she held with my Dad, and her remark that she had known my Dad for longer than she hadn't. At the time, I couldn't really imagine having an anniversary like that of my own. But I did realize this "half of my life" one was getting close a couple of years ago, and I've been waiting for it since then.

I remember my carefully selected outfit for my first day of college. It included a "Planet Hollywood" shirt that no one would be caught dead wearing today. Back then, I said "pop" instead of "soda," "freeway" instead of "highway," I mispronounced the names of most of the local towns and I never said "wicked." I don't say wicked often now either, but I think I have a bit more authenticity when I do, especially more than I did when coming home for winter vacation that first year.

I've always hated when people ask me if I'm rooting for the Cleveland Indians or the Boston Red Sox (the answer is likely neither, unless it affects my commute). Tourists always seem to seek me out at the train station for directions, ending their ask with "you're not from here, are you?" as though someone from Boston would never have been as helpful. But when my town was hurt, there was no doubt where my allegiances resided.

It's not a huge accomplishment, just living somewhere for a long time. As an adult though, we don't get to hit too many milestones anymore. So here's to half my life, Boston. I'm still happy to be here.