Thursday, December 31, 2009

A Year (and a little extra) In Review

December 25, 2008- I spend the day doing what my husband calls "waffling" at our family events. I had a pregnancy loss that I found out about in early October, and I just couldn't believe we had conceived again so quickly and I did not want to believe the three positive pregnancy tests I had taken. (Well, I did want to believe them, I just couldn't quite let myself get excited.) Finally, at dinner with my family, I blurt out "you know, we need to talk about vacation this year."

Blank stares. "Because John and I are probably not going to be able to do a whole lot in August.

My grandmother, who is suffering from a lot (and would pass away the following July), has trouble hearing, and seems to be out of the loop on most conversations, smirks to herself.

I try again, "because I'm either going to have a baby or be about to have a baby."

Finally, my sister does the math in her head and screams, "you're pregnant?!" I nod, and then explain that I haven't seen a doctor yet so I'm not "officially" pregnant until then. Everyone is very excited regardless, with the exception of my stone cold dad, who says, "I'll get excited after your doctor's appointment." In a way, I ruined Christmas, because all focus after that was one the future member of our family.

December 26, 2008- Even though my appointment is not until the 9th of January, I can't keep it in any longer and have to tell my husband's family. We walk in to my mother in law's house and go back to the bedroom where she is changing my niece's diaper. I look at my niece, who is 13 months, and say, "Do you want a cousin?" She giggles. "Do you want a cousin in August?" She laughs really loudly. My husband's brother and mom also take a second to do the math, and then get very excited.

New Year's 2009- We go to a very close friend's house. I am fairly sure that they can tell I am with child considering the fact that I down heartburn meds, drink half of their gallon of milk, and fall asleep on their couch at 8:30. Luckily, they don't mention it, as good friends should.

January 9, 2009- I see my baby's heartbeat on ultrasound for the first time. I had been so nervous because I had spotted all through the first 7 weeks of the pregnancy, and the last time I had been to this office was October when we received the devastating news that we were not, in fact, going to have a baby. To ease my fears they break the usual first appointment protocol and do an ultrasound. I don't think I would have made it through the next month without that reassurance!

Feb-July 2009- I'm pregnant. We'll skip over a lot of this because the people who read my blog have either heard it all or experienced it all. Some high points: getting to wear flip-flops all summer, getting out of yardwork all summer, floating in the cool ocean at Sandbridge Beach in Virginia in late June (absolute bliss), finding out that I was having a son (for those that didn't know, I was terrified of having a girl and had a "feeling" it was a boy all along), and our 'babymoon' to the beach in May. We really spent that time relaxing, enjoying each other's company, and talking about our future.

Some lowlights: having to wear flip-flops the last 2 months because my feet were so swollen, completely neglecting the yard and never getting around to planting a garden, the last two weeks of work at 39 and 40 weeks pregnant, not being able to go to Cape Lookout in July because the boat ride would have been too hard on my 35-week-pregnant body, not being able to sleep the last 12 or so weeks, and the fact that my body didn't naturally go into spontaneous labor and allow me to have the natural, med-free birth experience I had prepared for. Overall, I feel that I had a really easy pregnancy, especially considering my obesity putting me at risk for any pregnancy complication you can think of.

August 24, 2009- I am 41 weeks and 1 day pregnant. I have spent the last week relaxing at home and trying not-too-hard to get the baby to come, mostly by walking miles around my neighborhood and downtown. We visit the doctor and while Jacob passes his test with flying colors, I do not have enough fluid in my uterus to let him hang out any longer, and we plan an induction that night. I cry the whole way home to pack, as I am certain this means I am headed towards a c-section.

August 25, 2009- After 22 hours of labor (about 9 of those involving increasingly intense but surprisingly manageable contractions) and barely dilating, we decide to go ahead and have a c-section. I will spare the details of my entire birth story, but suffice it to say that things move very quickly, and although we made the decision at 5:40, my son arrives within the hour at 6:36. My husband and I sprout tears as soon as we hear that tiny little cry, and the proudest moment of my life is when John arrives from the nursery 10 minutes later beaming as he carries our healthy baby boy.

September 2009- A month of tears, both happy and sad. Happy because my hormones were so out of control that I cried almost every time I held, fed, or watched someone else interact with my son. Sad because my hormones were so out of control that every time he whimpered, I burst into tears myself. My major accomplishments were being able to exclusively breast feed, and take a shower every day.

October 2009- Arguably, the best month of my life so far. Jacob started smiling, sleeping through the night, and interacting. We took daily walks, I took a ton of pictures, and I lost the rest of my pregnancy weight. We went to a moms in motion class twice a week and I got to interact with other new moms, and Jacob got to see other babies for the first time. We took our first trip at the end of the month to Philadelphia and we were so proud of him! I kept the kitchen clean and the laundry done, and overall we were all healthy and happy.

November 2009- I became a working mom! Getting into the swing of things was easier than I thought it would be, although the end of the month was frustrating as my milk supply wavered and I wasn't sure that I would be able to keep breastfeeding. Thanksgiving started out wonderful and ended up with Jacob spending the hour and a half we were at my family's celebration screaming and refusing to eat. The booger smiled as soon as I put him on the changing table in his room, just happy to be home.

December 2009- More ups and downs. The beginning was so stressful as I worried how I was ever going to prepare for the holidays with a 3 month old in the house. We took a weekend trip to D.C., which he excelled at, and I came back ready to enjoy his first Christmas even if it meant neglecting the housework for a few weeks. Christmas was definitely better than Thanksgiving...he turned 4 months old and everyone in our families thought he was the most alert, adorable, advanced 4 month old they had ever seen.

As I look back over the year behind me, I cannot believe how lucky I am. So many people are in distress, and I have a job, a wonderful husband, a home, a supportive extended family, a sweet dog, and a happy, healthy, loving little boy. My life could not be any better right now, and I am so excited to experience all the things to come in the next decade as I watch over it all.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Let me whine about having a job.

So. There's a large argument about whether it's harder to be a working mom or a stay at home mom. I know that each comes with it's own challenges, and that if I stayed home all day every day I would eventually go crazy and revert to speaking only baby talk and saying things like "poopy diapey" and listening to the KidSongs channel on digital cable.

However, this holiday season has been the hardest two weeks of my life. Before December happened, I felt pretty comfortable in my "working mom" role. I think we had a decent routine down. Jacob was sleeping pretty well at night and going down between 8-9PM, which gave me time to get his bottles ready for the next day, clean the kitchen, do a load of laundry, and still spend an hour or so relaxing with my husband. On weekends we enjoyed family time and caught up on housework.

On Black Friday, I spent the slow workday getting about 60% of my Christmas shopping done online. I was feeling pretty good about things. Then all of a sudden, everything happened at once. I realized that we had plans every weekend day of the next 6 weeks, my supply of breastmilk took a nosedive, and the outlet our chest freezer was plugged into tripped and we lost about $600 worth of meat, heat and eat meals, and my precious extra breastmilk. All of a sudden I was spending extra time "power pumping" and baking lactation cookies to try to get my milk back up, and Jacob started going to bed later and getting up earlier, causing my 6AM-11PM days to feel like they were nonstop.

I freaked out. Completely. I spent two weeks so stressed out about how I was ever going to decorate, clean the house, and get all these presents wrapped that I had no time left over to actually do those things. I was a mess...snapping at my husband, crying at the drop of a hat, sleepwalking through work. I felt like I had some kind of late-onset Post Partum Depression.

I don't know how, but one way or another I made it through and just as quickly as it started, I relaxed. I did some more online retail therapy, preventing me from having to make shopping trips for Christmas. I got really excited about my ebates account and the fat check I'm going to receive in February as a result of all this time spent online. My boobs miraculously started producing more milk. And I went to Target, bought a bunch of gift bags, and said "screw wrapping"!

Now, my tree is up, my kitchen is (somewhat) clean, my living room carpet is vacuumed, I actually got cards in the mail for the first time ever, gifts are DONE (except my brother in law's 6 pack of beer. Yes, that's really what he asked for), and I'm going shopping with a friend tonight. Just for fun.

I'm finally able to do what I wanted all along: enjoy my son's first Christmas.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Because every Thanksgiving ends with a bottle of wine, right?

Luckily, only half of our Thanksgiving was a massive fail. Actually, even less than half. But unfortunately it was the half that involved my family, with my sister who drove 7 hours from Philly and my dear wonderful cousins that I grew up with and my dad who is almost never in town anymore. Here's how it went down:

We wanted to go to the church service this morning and since we live 25 minutes from church and my mother in law lives 5 minutes (and the service started at 7AM) we spent the night at mother in law's. J slept great all night in the pack and play in his own little room, which means that mid-December when Mama and Daddy have an adult party to go to, J will be doing his first overnight with a grandparent! Big win there. Church was pretty good...he was fussy at first but it's a casual service so I didn't feel the least bit out of place standing at the back rocking him to naptime. He took a nearly 3 hour nap before we went to my husband's grandparents, so I figured that exhaustion would not be an issue. He did really well at the big family celebration. He got passed around and smiled and talked and lied on the floor and entertained everyone, and of course we were all so enamored with him. He was the epitome of what "bundle of joy" means.

He napped again from 2-3, and then in the car between houses, so I thought he was pretty well rested when we arrived at my cousin's house just before 6 for my family's Thanksgiving. I was really excited because it's the first time some of my extended family have met him. My sister made a beeline for him as soon as he stirred, and I knew he was getting hungry so I told her to bring him to me when he started to fuss.

I had eaten 3 pieces of cheese, 3 olives, and popped open the top to a Diet Mug Root Beer when the crying started. I settled on the couch with the pillow, burp cloth, and hooter hider and discreetly un-snapped my bra while my 4 year old cousin asked a million questions about what I was doing and why the baby ate from under my shirt. Sis set J down and He. Did. Not. Latch. O.K. That has never happened, in three months of having a perfect baby who goes easily between the breast and bottles of pumped milk (of which I had none). He screamed on my nipple like it was the worst thing I could have put in his mouth. I thought maybe he was hot, so I took his pants and socks off. No help. So I went upstairs to a room no one was using, took off his onesie, didn't put him under the cover. Nothing. Just screaming. I started crying while I was walking around the room with him. For nearly an hour I would get him calm, try the boob, back to more screaming. My sister took him into the nursery, put on soft music, soft lights, humidifier, rocked him, while I sat in the other room crying on my mom's shoulder. H finally got him calmed down enough that I went into the nursery. He was lying on the floor sucking on her finger. We tried nursing and voila! All was well. For about 7 minutes.

Then he went right back to screaming. My husband came in and we did everything we could to calm him but nothing worked for more than 3 minutes at a time. So finally, defeated and deflated and upset, we trudged back downstairs, packed him in his carseat, and left. Well, I left, barely able to even say goodbye to my family without erupting into a wailing mess. My hubby had to say goodbyes and answer everyone's questions. They mean well. They asked if I was ok, offered to take J so we could eat. He declined and explained that we really just think he's overwhelmed and needed to get home.

So, not he's asleep in his own crib. The little bugger started smiling as soon as I put him on the changing table. He nursed like a dream and went right to sleep.

Now mama is going downstairs to crack open a bottle of wine, clean my kitchen, and wait for my little sister to show up with dinner plates.

Let's hope we can handle the Christmas schedule with a little more grace.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

What I Know About God

He exists.

And I see him when you smile at me, when you burrow your head into my neck, and when all the expression leaves your face as you drift into peaceful sleep.

For a long time I backed away from God and religion. I knew I felt something was out there, but I didn't believe in Jesus. I needed proof. Most Christians I know said the Bible was their proof, but
I just couldn't help but think that the Bible was written by men, and how on earth could we trust these men? For a long time I floundered in a sort of netherland, thinking that it really didn't matter anyway, because things were going to be what they were.

And then my son was born. And five days later, on a Sunday, I sat rocking him in his nursery after a feeding, looking at his content face, wondering if it was really just science that gave every mammal the special ability to produce the milk their babies needed to grow, when my own personal revelation hit me like a light bulb. Literally, it was as though a light were shining from God onto my little boy's face in front of me, and I whispered to myself "this is the proof I've been asking for". The most perfect gift, entrusted to me to take care of by a God that chose to give him to me even though I had denied Him. What an amazing moment in my life. I will forever be thankful to God for entrusting me with this life, and thankful to my beautiful son for reintroducing me to our Creator.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Does It Have To End So Soon?

I cannot believe this day is here. My maternity leave is over. Monday morning I have to get up at 6AM, pack anything that Jacob will ever need in a normal day (and then some extras), and take him to daycare so that I can go to work at 8. How did it go by this fast?

Six weeks ago, I was thinking "oh, I'll be ready for work. Adult interaction, not wearing pajamas all day, making money, etc." and then my boy started sleeping at night and smiling at me. Now, I'm not ready. Sure, I'm trying to tell myself that it will be so nice to spend my lunch breaks dropping by to nurse him, and that his grin when I pick him up at 5:30 will be the highlight of my day. But I also realize that I will go from spending nearly every waking moment with my son to only seeing him for 3 hours a night.

And to make matters worse, I spent today at an eye appointment and a spa appointment. Sweet Jesus, what was I thinking a month ago when I scheduled these? No one can ever complain about a three hour spa trip, but when all I have wanted to do all week was curl up on the bed and play with my sweet little baby, it has definitely made last night's anniversary date and today's massage seem...insignificant.

In case you don't believe how hard this is going to be (and any mom would, so this is really for the non-parents out there), THIS is what I'll be missing:

Could you leave this behind?

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

They Say It Can't Be Done...

I'm here to prove them wrong.

I just lurve how everyone who has or has not given birth and/or raised a child loves to dole out advice before the baby arrives. I am guilty of this as I have two close friends due this winter, but I have forewarned both of them with a disclaimer that I can be told to shut up at any time. I have also done two things: tried to wait until they broach the subject before offering my two cents, and tried to remain positive. My absolute pet peeve is when women tell a pregnant woman how much her life is going to "change" (aka "suck") when baby is here.

Come on, people! Your life does not end...of course you get less sleep, of course you make sacrifices, but it is all so worth it when your baby looks at you and you know they recognize you. If it sucked all that bad, why did you have two? And honestly, you can still do adult things!

Behold, my proof:

This is my artistic statement. On Sunday, I had a lovely brunch with my husband, sister, brother in law, and yes, my two month old son at a white tablecloth restaurant in Philadelphia. It was wonderful. Jacob amused himself by looking around at everything before having a meal and falling asleep in my lap.

And one of the waitresses let me change him on one of the tables upstairs in a room no one was using. Think about that the next time you wonder if you should wash your hands before eating.

Monday, October 26, 2009

A Love Story...

This is my nightly 20 minute vigil to make sure that Jacob is going to sleep and not crying or fussing, and this survey was posted on our message boards, so I thought it would be fun to fill it out. It's about my husband.

how long have you know each other: I think we met nearly ten years ago, but we really started spending more time together eight years ago.

where did you meet: At his apartment. He was my best guy friends' roommate for long enough that my friend's wife and I refer to them as "life partners".

love at first sight: Oh hell no! I thought he was a computer geek, and he thought I was loud and obnoxious. We were both right.

where did you go on your first date: Well, it depends on which date we're referring to. There were many nights spent visiting the roommate at his part time Pizza Hut job, but we were really just friends then. For Christmas the first year we were friends, he got me ballet tickets, roses, and I bought a new dress. I'd say that's a date, especially since I'm pretty sure we slept in the same bed afterwards.

how long did you date before he popped the question: Four years! Although there was a very sweet "secret" engagement done about 6 months in with a gumball machine ring.

how did he pop the question: The long story is a secret, and involves an unsuccessful first try. The real story involves a December carriage ride around our historic area downtown, with a stop at Krispy Kreme to warm up. I knew he was going to propose and was just waiting for the right moment. I remember sitting in KK looking at him, thinking "this feels right, I hope he does it now" just before he asked. He flashed the ring under the table because there were some pretty shady characters at the next table and well, our getaway car only goes about 5 miles an hour, so he didn't want everyone to know we were packing diamonds. We asked a lady to take our picture, she asked if we were from out of town. She laughed nervously when we told her it was a special occasion and said, "At Krispy Kreme?!" in a strange way. It was perfect. Afterwards he was going to take me to a lovely restaurant downtown but I wasn't hungry, so we ate hot dogs at Target.

when did you get married (if not married yet, date set?): November 5, 2006. Our third anniversary is just around the corner.

And our beautiful son is sleeping peacefully.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Wonder what kind of face the cow was making back?

My son is growing so fast. He noticed these animal toys on his bouncer this week and has been staring that cow down for days. He smiles at the duck, but just does not like that cow!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Mother Knows Best

Let me begin with a disclaimer: I have a wonderful husband who already has been a shining example of what a dad should be. Whenever I have been even close to my breaking point because of hormones, a crying baby, a neurotic dog, and a house that desperately needs an organization fairy, he has been there to swoop in, grab my son, and say, "you need a break. Go take a bath or a walk or just get away for a little while." He also takes every Friday night with the baby, getting up to change him and bring him to me in bed for a meal before putting him back to sleep. Sometimes this seems ridiculous because why should we both lose sleep, but you would be shocked how much easier it is to fall asleep when I only have to wake up for 15 minutes as opposed to 45. We also have an agreement that when I go back to work, he will actually do this Fri-Sun nights. What a saint. And every time I see the two of them together, I scramble for my camera because I am reminded how lucky I am to have these two boys that adore me and each other.

However, I learned tonight that even sainthood has it's limits. Like fingernail clipping. And the bedtime routine. ::Sigh::

Around 7, Jacob and I were happily playing on the floor, switching between tummy time and smiley time, when I decided that it would be a good time to clip his nails. Mistake...instant screaming and tiny little hands that were moving so fast I may have accidentally nipped skin. My dear husband got on the floor with us and for 7 blissful fingers kept baby boy occupied by talking, singing, and making faces. Then he quit...just stood up without saying anything and got back into his recliner. WTH? Haven't you heard the phrase "when you start something, finish it?" I let him know that I wasn't happy he quit on us, and asked him if he was ever going to do any of the hard parts of baby-raising, and he replied that he'd be happy to cut his fingernails if I would show him how. I reminded him that there was no instruction manual for these things and that somehow I, his brother, and anyone else that has ever had a baby just somehow figured out how to do it, so I'm sure he could give it a try sometime.

I think he was feeling guilty for not doing enough, so he decided to put Jacob to bed while I was cleaning the kitchen. Major FAIL. Poor dad...he tried so hard, but he just doesn't have mom's touch. Or her swaddling skills. Or her breastmilk. He came downstairs with a screaming baby, giving me a look that just breaks my heart. It's part sheepish, but mostly it's all full of guilt and sadness that he upset our son and added to my stress level. Thanks god he wasn't crying, because that would have dissolved me into tears as well. It made me think for the first time that for most men, it's got to be incredibly difficult to be a first time dad of an infant. He wants to be able to soothe Jacob and calm him down, and about 60% of the time he does, but deep down, there really is just something about mom that babies respond to.

I'll try to remember this when Jacob is twelve, telling me how mean I am and then running off to play Playstation with his cool dad.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Grass is Always Greener

My baby is seven weeks old (as of yesterday) and has been sleeping 7 or more hours at a time since we started him in his crib a week and a half ago. I should be over the moon, overjoyed, and estatic that I have a little boy that I can swaddle, lay down in his crib, and turn his lights and music rainforest machine on and he will fall asleep. And I am, I promise. I get to enjoy an hour or two with my husband before we snuggle into bed together. Last night I drank a beer with dinner because little boy was so tired that he went to bed at 7:30. I actually get to sleep with my husband again, and let my dog into bed with us to cuddle.

However, and I don't want to jinx myself here, I have to go back to work in less than 3 1/2 weeks, and it's hit me that if my kid is going to bed between 7:30 and 8, I will only have about 2 hours with him every evening. What?! So, as much as I love being able to sleep for at least a four hour block each night, and as much as I love knowing that my son loves being in his crib and is advanced enough to put himself to sleep there, some part of me, the mommy part that starts crying while I'm watching him fall asleep with his perfect little lips puckered, sort of wants him to cry a little.

Just enough that I can swoop him into my arms and rock him to sleep. Because he just had a bath and he smells so wonderful and the feeling of his tiny little hand rubbing up and down my shoulder is the absolute greatest thing I've ever felt. And because walking away when he's smiling up at me is the hardest thing I've ever had to do.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Sanitation Station

Say what you will about hand sanitizer. (Yes, I'm looking at you, hippies, and all the stats about how it makes you less immune to germs and all that junk.) When your baby is born during the H1N1 flu pandemic, and your husband was born to a mother that wouldn't allow them to touch "anything" in public restrooms (and also shared that when she was growing up her mom would stand them on the toilet seat to pee in public restrooms so that no part of them touched the nasty parts), then hand sanitizer is a must. At least for the first two weeks...we've gradually slacked off since then.

I was a little surprised that most everyone was okay with the over-cleanliness required to hold our new baby boy (maybe I'm dirtier than I think?) Especially the fact that my stubborn dad seemed to take it in stride. However, there was one family member (and I love him dearly and he knows it so I hope he doesn't get offended) who had a raised eyebrow and actually talked back to my husband! Now, my brother in law is very laid back and easygoing, and totally oblivious to what anyone thinks of him. He goes with the flow and assumes that people like him, and to his credit I don't know anyone that doesn't like him, but he was skeptical about the cleanliness test. "Do I really need that? I just washed my hands," he said as he eyed the hand sanitizer in my husband's hands, ready to pump. "He's only about a week old, so yes," my husband replied. "Well, dude, this is going to be the cleanest baby in the world." I almost died internally. It amazes me that these two guys are so different yet get along so well. Mostly because their wives are total opposites and like to be at each others' throats. (We have an excuse...we're sisters.)

The nice thing about the story is that this is one thing that my husband and sister (who are usually waiting to see who will pick the next fight when they're around each other) are on the same side in this one. For one of the only times I can remember in the eight or so years these boys have been in our lives, I saw my sister defend my husband when she said, "sweetie, he's a really little baby and he can't even fight a cold yet, so it's not unreasonable." At that moment, I really was like a proud mama bear watching her cubs help each other out. Not to mention relieved that I didn't have to mediate another fight between them.

Ain't family grand?

Friday, October 9, 2009

Mommy Brain -vs- Pregnancy Brain

Today is a busy husband and I are going on our first alone date night since baby boy was born and we're very excited for hockey and beer. But I have time for a short story.

When I was pregnant, my husband went to a conference for work one morning where he could not be reached. This particular morning also happened to be the time that I thought my work keys were inside my purse, which was locked in his trunk. Since I had the car keys, I called my boss to let her know I would be late and hopped in the truck to try to drive around the parking lot of this hotel in Raleigh trying to find my car, and the sacred keys. Halfway there I realized how ridiculous this plan was, and then started really thinking things through. I could remember bringing my purse in the night before, so they couldn't be in the trunk, right? I turned around 10 miles in and decided to check at home first. Sure enough, when I opened the door to the house my purse was hanging on the banister. Keys inside...

I thought this could not be outdone as a pregnancy brain moment (keep in mind I was hysterical the whole time). Until yesterday.

My son is usually hanging out in his bouncer seat next to the shower when I bathe every day. Sometimes if he gets really upset, after I'm finished bathing I'll bring him in with me and let the water run over his back, which works wonders to soothe him. Well, yesterday I did this and got out of the shower, making sure to wrap him in his towel and keep him warm. After I took care of him and he was settled in a safe place, I started to get dressed, only to realize that I had never actually bothered to put a towel or robe on myself, and I was dripping wet. I seriously forgot to dry off! Who does that?

I guess it proves that once you have kids, you literally do not think about yourself anymore!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

I've Had an Epiphany

I'm not going to give my whole, emotional, drawn-out "birth story" on here, but let's sum it up in the fact that my body refused to co-operate with the plan I set out for myself. I wanted to have a natural and med-free birth, but at 41 weeks and 2 days I was induced, labored for 9 hours, and ended up having the dreaded c-section.

At the time, I was pretty torn up about this. I felt like I had failed, and at the same time as though mother nature had cheated me out of the experience of bringing a child into the world the way she intended. Over time I have learned that what matters is that my son is healthy, and my healing process went as smoothly as I could have ever expected no matter what way the kid was delivered.

And then yesterday, the chilling strike of realization that if I was going through this experience 100, 50, or even 30 years ago things would have been so different. I would have never known that my amniotic fluids were low and that my baby had stopped growing. I may have gone on carrying this child for two more weeks while he was getting no nutrients. He likely would have been stillborn, or killed both of us in the birthing process. The thought of that just scares me. How did women deal with that? How do women in other parts of the world deal with the fact that just because they carry a baby for ten months doesn't mean they will be a mother in the end?

I never thought I would think of "medical intervention" as such a good thing, but in my time of deepest need, it was there for me. And it's the reason I am here, typing this blog one-handed as my perfect 6 week old baby boy lies sleeping in my lap. I would not trade that for a natural birth story any day.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

I've broken the rules.

All of them. You know the ones I'm talking about: the ones you set for yourself while you're pregnant about what kind of parent you will be when your little one arrives. Although to be clear, I never really had hard, fast rules (other than not bed-sharing) because I felt it was important to be flexible. But, I did have some expectations for what I thought would be best for my infant, and what I hoped I wouldn't have to "give in" to. Oh, but I have given in...

My hopes were that my baby would find his thumb quickly and self-soothe, based on a ridiculous notion that I heard somewhere two years ago that "self-soothing is a sign that babies are more intelligent". Within two weeks I realized that my son was trying to find a thumb but kept his perfect little hands clenched into tight little fists. He would also eat, spit up, and want to eat again within half an hour. My body could not keep up with him, so one day shy of his two week birthday, a little after midnight, out came the pacifier sent home with us from the hospital, and we've never looked back.

Early in my pregnancy, I knew I wanted to breastfeed, but had this ridiculous notion of demand feeding as being something that only those hippie moms who don't ever spank their 5 year old for calling them a bitch would do. Little did I realize that in the beginning, that's really the only way to feed. When he had been crying since his last feeding and started rooting on his dad's neck, I knew I had to give up the idea of getting him on a schedule. At least until he hit about 6-8 weeks. There is no way I can listen to him scream when I know I have the solution right under my shirt. (I will draw the line at demand feeding a six month old. Maybe.)

My favorite "rule" was the one about not rocking babies to sleep. Bwahahaha...seriously? I really thought that I was just going to put a two week old in his crib and let him cry himself to sleep? Riiiight. Although I really need no further embellishment on how ridiculous this idea was, I will offer a nice piece of advice for those soon to be moms out there: bouncer seat in front of the dryer and washer running (or dishwasher for that matter). Oh, how that is my go to when I really, really need a shower or to do something with more than one hand.

And the coup d'etat came more recently. I was adamant about the bed sharing issue: it's dangerous, and it raises a child that wants to sleep with mom and dad until he's twelve. But you try sleeping for three hours and then wondering what you are doing at 4AM with a 3 week old that will not go back to sleep unless you are holding him, and when you're holding him you feel as though at any moment you will fall asleep standing up and he'll slip out of your arms. That's right, you put him in the bed...