Bring it on, peeps. I need to hear about your toddlers when you brought home your new baby. Just how whacked out did they get? Did they lash out? Regress? Start, oh, I dunno, kicking the wall at nap time yelling Twinkle Twinkle and refuse to go to bed until about 10pm when, up until that time, needed 12 hours of sleep per night?
I’m just guessing here.
So, bring it on. All the stories. Good and bad. ‘Cause some days she’s the perfect big sister and other days we’ve half written up the E-bay post by breakfast.
There are things I’ve been mulling over for some time now about how we ended up having a baby three weeks early. About how I would cuss and moan about being pregnant right up until the moment they said I couldn’t be pregnant anymore. About the decision to call the doctor and confess I was having contractions for the past 24 hours, they weren’t going away, and they were getting stronger. I’ve been replaying the entire scenario at dinner where I joked with the waitress that I’d try not to have a baby there then reassured her we still had weeks to go even as I squeezed my belly from pain and gripped the table breathing over contractions. I can’t get my doctor’s face out of my mind when he said, “No, it’s tonight. We’re taking him out tonight.” I’ve had to sit and chat with him about that decision no less than three times to hear the words “You didn’t do anything wrong, it’s not your fault, it’s just that sometimes babies come early.”
Guilt is a hard thing to get over. Even if it’s not really your fault.
So, instead, I’d rather reflect on a few pieces of the story instead of the details that have weighed me down for over a week. Instead, I’d like to remind myself that some of these things I do want to remember, and some I do not. And I hope simply by writing it down, I’ll let those “don’ts” go, and keep the “do’s” fresh and safe in my mind to tell Baby O one day.
I do not need to remember that first poo after surgery. Not the details of it, anyway. But I do want to remember coming back to the NICU where Mr. Flinger is holding Baby O and saying, “Worst. Experience. Ever.” His reply, “You can barely walk from major surgery but poop is the worst experience ever? Really?”
I do not need to remember getting up every three hours to pump while my son lies 20 miles away. I don’t want to remember how I barely got 10cc of milk each night he was away from me. I don’t want to remember how frustrating it was to hear the mom in the pod next to use come in with bottles full.
I don’t want to remember how the anesthesiologist couldn’t get the spinal block in and had to try four times and how much it hurt and how I started to have a mild panic attack from the impending surgery. I don’t want to remember how my son was pulled out and didn’t cry right away. How he turned blue as Mr. Flinger held him and couldn’t breathe or how they told me I couldn’t see him for a few hours.
I want to remember how amazing the man I married is. I want to remember him walking in with flowers and a card to “O’s Mommy” which simply said, “Let’s raise another kid together, ok?” I want to remember how he gives me the freedom to be a bit hormonal and freaky with a squeeze of his hand and lets me cry before kissing me and telling me I’m beautiful. I want to remember my doctor and his amazing patience and confidence and how he called the NICU to check on baby O every day.
I want to remember that my daughter’s voice sounds like honey to me when I get home. I want to remember walking from her room after putting her to bed and checking on Baby O sleeping in the cradle and thinking how much I love having two children.
I want to remember the support from The Internet. I want to remember how everyone who commented on his birth and followed his journey home gave me a little more confidence and great things to remember when I got stressed. I want to remember how they made me cry in a warm way.
But most of all, I want to remember that in the end, it’s all ok. Plans change. Babies come early. Babies surprise you with their tiny weight. But in the end, it’s all ok.
I just might need you to help me remember these things when I get a little sleepy later. Because let’s be honest; I’m going to get sleepy. I hope I don’t forget.
I’m crying a lot now. The difference is, I’ll cry once a day or so because I’m so happy. Because, Internet? I’m happy. I’m so touched to see my daughter gush over Baby O. I’m thrilled with how my husband is taking care of the three of us. I love how we mesh well and he is already a part of our lives that I couldn’t imagine him not being here. Even if he was three weeks early.
Two and a half years ago, I wasn’t a Mom. I wasn’t aware of what “MOM” meant. Maybe I had some misconceived notions about the word, maybe I didn’t understand how much it changes a person, not completely, but by enhancing what’s already there. Maybe I didn’t know that I was capable of being “MOM” in a way that would make me proud of my child.
Maybe I’m hopped up on pain pills and a bit emotional.
Either way, I’m thrilled to have my family together. LB is ecstatic to have Baby O out of my belly. She goes to the cradle first thing after nap or night-time to check on him. She tells me he needs things. “He wants his blanket, Mommy! He needs his Binki!” She is so willing to help, if I don’t give her a task to do, she will go searching for one. (Or she’ll go take all the books off her bookshelf and strip down to her diaper but these are the moments I laugh it off because dayam! clothes are over-rated anyway.)
I won’t lie. We’re tired. I have a monster of a head-ache that will not let me focus on things like adding how much formula to breastmilk he needs for a feeding. But over all, we’re fine. We’re doing well. We’re happy.
It makes me remember my favorite quote about having kids:
The most terrifying day of your life is the day the first one is born…... Your life, as you know it… is gone. Never to return. But they learn how to walk, and they learn how to talk… and you want to be with them. And they turn out to be the most delightful people you will ever meet in your life. - Lost in Translation
It’s so refreshing to be on the other side. Internet? I love my baby right out of the box.
Meet my new suckling infant; Baby “M”
One day I’ll tell you about the birth of our son. One day I’ll give you all the boring details only a mother needs to share. One day. Today is not that day.
There was only so much I could do for Baby O. I couldn’t teach him how to breath. I couldn’t clear his lungs. Hell, I couldn’t even hold him. But I could try to produce milk and antibodies. And I tried. I AM trying.
It’s not only not going well, there is no chapter in the “Breast Feeding After A Reduction” bible about what to do if your child is in the NICU. Nobody says how to succeed when you can’t even see him. Nobody chapter says what to do when your breasts dry up in four days.
We taunt nursing mothers in public. We lecture them to cover up. We guilt bottle feeding mothers when they purchase formula. But where is everyone at 2AM and your nipples won’t produce anything and you’re in tears?
We went to soccer on Friday.
She got a haircut on Saturday.
I had contractions the entire time.
Born via emergency C-section on May 20th at 2:04AM, weighing 5 pounds 15 oz and 19 inches long:
Who now lives in the NICU. We’re hoping he starts breathing better so we can spend some time with him.
I sordof miss my baby belly. At least he was with us all the time.
I’ve been thinking a lot during these last few weeks. My thoughts swing from “GET THE DAMN BABY OUT! NOW! OUT OUT OUT!” to “This is the last time my daughter will be an only child.. the last time she’ll get every ounce of my attention; aside from the blog and the laundry and that shiny thing over there, that is.” Lately I’ve been romanticizing every aspect of her tiny little person because look! We made a tiny little person! Who turned out to be pretty damn incredible! Don’t we rock?
We somehow survived those first few months of reflux, screaming, not sleeping. We made it through the first winter with our newborn, we figured out how to feed her, to swaddle her, to get her to sleep. I remember sitting with her in various locations feeding her and telling her I loved her, even though the words landed on an unresponsive baby who couldn’t comprehend what I said any more than I could. I remember those first few months of struggle, telling myself this is what I wanted, I wanted to be a mom, I loved my daughter, I really did. I just wasn’t so convinced at first. I remember the guilt I felt over admitting those feelings and how relieved I was when so many others confessed the same thing.
In thinking back, I’m sad for my first-time-mom self. I’m sad that nobody said it’s OK to cry on the bathroom floor and it’s OK to become so insanely over-protective and it’s OK to bottle feed because your boobs can’t squirt more than three drops of milk. Maybe people were telling me it was OK, I don’t remember, I just remember the loudest voice of all was my own guilt, my own fear, my own self-loathing.
That voice got quieter and my mom voice got a lot louder.
We learned we could still do the same things we loved. We found out it’s so much more fun to go to a park with your child, to watch her swing with such a joy, you think you’re flying. We celebrated her first birthday in awe and relief; somehow we managed to become parents that first year. We took our collective gene-pool and created a person we loved to show off, to let see our places, we let in to our hearts.
We created standards for her life. We collectively pulled together as a team, the parental unit, and came up with a secure home with lots of love and respect but also high expectations. We waited a whole year before letting her try her first beer. We made sure it was classy.
Even during the toddler years, the struggles of being two, the independence that takes a two minute task and turns it in to a three hour event (called “Getting Dressed”), we still somehow found a way to mesh. The three of us make a pretty fine team. She makes us laugh with her expressions. She comes up with stories on her own. She is still incapable of lying and tells on herself almost daily. “LB? What are you doing?” “I’m pooping on the carpet! That’s a NONO!” I respect her honesty.
LB, during the past two and a half years we’ve come a long way together. We fell in love, we conquered the big issues like eating and sleeping. We taught you how to talk and walk and you taught us how to be parents with high standards and a classy kid. You’re someone we can take to your dad’s work and be proud of how well you handle your tiny two-year-old self. We’re proud of how often you choose to listen to us even when we know you’d rather not. We are amazed at how much you can do on your own now and how helpful you are to me during the day. I’m so proud of how well you’ve accepted your new role and how you already set aside one of your favorite stuffed toys for your brother. You already hand me your Yellow Buddy and tell me it’s for Baby O. Your kindness is inspiring. It’s because of all this that I know you’ll be the best big sister ever. It’s because of all this that I know you’ll always be someone we can respect and rely on. It’s because of all of this that I know you’re going to handle doing all of this over again so well. I hope I handle it even better than last time but honestly? It didn’t turn out half bad. And I have you to thank for that.
I love you.
Yesterday when we met Mr. Flinger at lunch (read: Starbucks coffee), the three of us were sitting drinking our allocated beverages when a group of three men about our age walked in. Mr. Flinger stares at one of the men, leans over to me, and whispers, “He went to our High School. I’m sure of it. He graduated in my class.” I was sure he was lying because just three weeks ago he saw Ross Perot at Safeway and two weeks before that, Wade Boggs at Quiznos. So, apparently, a lot of people get “spotted” when out at lunch time with Mr. Flinger.
I’m just saying.
So we stared a little too long at this man who looked only vaguely familiar when I realized OH MAH GAH! I had a huge crush on him! Like, in college! Like, he was, like, TOTALLY hot Freshman Year! And OH MAH GAH! I instantly, like, turn in to, like, a teenager! Because! He’s! Still! Hot!
Mr. Flinger kicked me, mumbled something about him still having his hair and tended to our child while I recovered by saying, “Um, yea, I think I remember him.. his name is Ben.. I remember him.. a little bit…” I threatened to talk to just ask him if he went to our high school. “Uh, don’t do that,” Mr. Flinger begged, “You’ll make us all weird and crap. I didn’t even know him back then.” I try to make it better by saying, “I knew him! I hung out in the same circle freshman year at college. I had friends that had friends of his. I ate lunch NEAR him. He’ll totally remember me.”
Maybe I shouldn’t have made eye contact. Maybe I shouldn’t have said, “Uh, did you go to [ enter hickville high ]? Graduate around 1992? Then go to [ enter tiny town community college here ]? Because I knew you? Your name is Ben, right?”
:: crickets :: the sound of his friends snorting cofee out their noses :: a blender in the background ::
Uh. Right! Because My name is Mrs. Flinger and this is my husband? We both went there, too! And I knew you in college? (Thinking, I was the super hot chick you never dated? Remember?)
Apparently, he did NOT remember.
“So, you live up here now, hu? Yea. It’s nice out. :: cough :: Ahem :: Shuffle :: Well, it was nice seeing you.”
Oh, holy hell, that was painful. Much more than necessary. At least, that’s what I say to Mr. Flinger in hushed tones after they leave. He, on the other hand, thinks it’s exactly how that would’ve played out.
Maybe I’m an optimist. Maybe I am too social for my own good. Maybe I have no fllter when I’m 36 weeks pregnant and don’t give a flying rats ass what people think anymore. Or, maybe, I was raised in the south where if you make eye contact with someone, it’s OK to say something to them and not run in to a hole in the ground like the moles that are bred up here do.
Again, just sayin’.
But when we got home and my expecting neighbors are walking out the door and I rush to “bump” in to them, only missing them by minutes, Mr. Flinger shakes his head, “You’ll never learn will you….”
If learning to never take a chance at making a friend is the lesson here, no, I guess I won’t. But if learning I’m a social freak who tends to make good situations a bit.. awkward.. then why yes! Thank you! I do know that.
I just do it anyway.
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