Posted in parenting, Pregnancy

What this day means to me

The calendar hanging on the wall reads May 20. But I don’t need the calendar to remind me. I’ve actually been thinking about this day all month. I’ve been thinking of this month all year. I couldn’t let this day slip past without an acknowledgment, because this day is pretty significant to me.

Today is the due date of my second child.
I have no crib set up.
There is no freshly painted nursery.
No hospital bag is packed and waiting by the door.
There is only a what if and a why.
There is only my thoughts of how different my life would be right now… if only.

I think of her a lot. I call her Ivy Quinn. I don’t know that she was a girl, she didn’t make it long enough to find out, but I have a hunch.

Physically, she was only a part of me for a few weeks, but she will be a part of me until I take my last breath. She was mine regardless.  Her life ended, but mine continues. Her heart stopped beating, but mine beats on–even with a hole in it.

There is pain. There is heartache. There is something missing that was to be.  Then suddenly wasn’t to be.

I never felt her kick or held her in my arms, but I hold her in my heart and I always will.

I wash dishes in a sink full of suds, but there is no baby bottle to rinse. I fold clothes and stack them in piles on the couch, but they are absent of tiny gowns.

I can’t help but feel guilty. All the ‘ifs’ haunt me. If I had only wanted her more? If my initial reaction hadn’t been one of inconvenience? Would it have made a difference. If only she had known how very much she would have been loved? If I hadn’t been so overcome with doubt, worry, and fear? Would it have mattered. If I had felt more excitement? If I had told more people?

We had a photo taken. It was clever and cute and we were going to announce it when the time was right. I hung it in our bedroom. We told our little Emma. She was so excited. Then I had to tell her the hardest thing I’ve had to tell her yet. She was quiet and then she said maybe the baby will come back later. Then nothing else was said. Ever. I put the photo away in a drawer.
Out of sight, but not out of mind.
Especially today.
On May 20.
The due date of my second child.

jesus-with-children-0408

 

Posted in Children, Family, Pregnancy

Breast Weaning Woes

I’m categorizing this blog under the Public Service category because somethings just need to be said, that no one said to me.  And also because I feel the need to vent.

I’m a little bit peeved at the female race right now.  Yes, women, you.  Don’t point at yourself with your eyebrows raised in surprise like that.  Yes, you.  I’m feeling a bit uninformed, a bit left out in the cold, and a whole LOT OF  shocked at the fact that nobody told me how painful weaning my baby from breast-feeding would be.

To my male readers:  don’t check out quite yet, I have something for you too.

To the mothers out there:  you told me how much pregnancy sucks, you told me how painful labor would be, you warned me of the pain of beginning breast-feeding, how badly it hurt when they latched on. You told me about the hard recovery from a c-section, the hormonal swings, the postpartum depression.  But no one, I mean NO ONE mentioned how painful weaning would be.

I chose to breast feed because I believe in it.  I believe in its goodness.  I never expected to last 6 months, never mind last a year and onward.  My little EK loves to nurse.  She asks for it all the time.  “muck”.  It has been beneficial to her, to her health, to our bonding, etc., etc., etc.  I could go on.

I must be honest, I felt a little weird nursing a toddler, even though deep down I knew I shouldn’t.  But Western Society sexualizes the breast, rather than embracing its intended function and breast feeding a toddler or older is frowned upon.  Dare I even say stigmatized.

I slowly began to wean the baby around 12 months.  First we night weaned, then we began dropping a feeding here and there.  Finally we were down to 2 feedings a day.  I kept it like this for several weeks.  And then the tantrums began.  When I had to postpone her desire for “muck”, she got mad.  She cried.  She pouted.  She hit whatever was closest, sometimes me.

This past Thursday, after a hitting episode, I just said.  “no more, there’s no more milk”.  I’ve stuck to it, but it’s a lie.  It’s one big whopper of a lie, because let me tell you folks, there’s still milk.  There’s a lot milk.  And my bosoms are engorged!  The pain is almost unbearable.  They’re hard, and hot, and lumpy and leaky.  Originally XS, they’ve expanded to a size XXX.  It’s not fun.

To my male readers:  I think I now know how it feels to have testicles.  You know how you guys are always protecting yours?  I get that now.   If something comes near you; a ball, a small child, you instinctively put your hands up to guard your jewels.  I get that now.  Because they hurt.  And especially when they get bumped.  I get that.  You have no idea how much I get that now.   I cry out like a little girl.  And feel like hitting back whoever or whatever has bumped them.

You have no idea how badly I want to allow my girl to nurse again to relieve the pain and discomfort, but I feel like I would really be taking 300 steps backward.  She still asks for her “muck” but the fits have stopped and she seems to be happy with substitute nourishment and comfort.  It’s not really her suffering from weaning.  It’s me.

I think I did this the smart way.  I weaned gradually.  There was no “cold turkey” .  And yet, I still have an overabundance of supply.  I’ve pumped a little just to grant myself an ounce (pun intended) of relief.   And now I have cabbage leaves in my bra as a home remedy to help drain and dry up.  So guess what?  Not only do I hurt, I am uncomfortable, I am downright grouchy, but now……I smell like slaw.  All I lack is fried chicken.  Just add that to my woes.

Which brings me to my advice.  To all you young mothers or ladies thinking of becoming a mother or thinking of breast-feeding.  Do it, it is a wonderful thing, don’t get me wrong, the benefits are astounding.

But  for me it has not been a piece of cake to wean, I’m here to tell you.

Since no one else will.

<END OF PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT>

But can anyone bring me some fried chicken?

Posted in Children, Pregnancy

Mother’s Day #1

I got a new camera lens for Mother’s Day along with a salad spinner ( my request) and a bouquet of flowers.

I spent the car trip home from Lubbock playing with my new lens, capturing images of J-Dub driving, EK sleeping, Ashy posing, and maybe an accidental shot of the dials on the dashboard.

Afterwards I reviewed the pictures on my camera and found myself scrolling back. Farther and farther back, on this first Mother’s Day, back through the weeks and months. All the way back to January 28th at 4:20 when the doctor tugged a crying baby from my bulging abdomen after a very long and difficult labor that ended with a C-section.

Then my precious, post term, 7 lb baby was whisked to the NICU where the premature, sick babies go.  The place where I was told when I could touch my baby, that I couldn’t nurse my baby, and where I felt completely helpless.

My heart is so tender remembering that day. I feel anger and I feel sadness all rolled together in a snowball of grief.

As I scroll back through the photos, I’m so thankful to remember.
To remember how tiny she was, how different her hair laid, how red the little mark on her nose appeared, how wrinkled her skinny little fingers were.

Oh my goodness how I love her.

How I miss her tiny newborn self.

How fortunate I am to have her.

Although I can’t take all the credit, being her mom is the best thing I’ve ever done, the greatest gift I’ve ever been given, the most important job I’ll ever have.

To all the mothers out there…….I finally get it.

And it’s incredible.

Posted in Pregnancy

She’s Here……

After a long awaited 41 weeks, our little girl, Emma Kate arrived on January 28 at 2:47 p.m. weighing in at 7.4 oz and 20 inches long.

Image

She spent 6 days in the Neonatal ICU with breathing complications, and finally after a long, exhausting, emotionally and physically draining time where days and nights ran together, and J-Dub and I ran through the motions, we came home.

I am spending my days at home recovering from a C-section, which is no easy task and something I was completely and totally unprepared for.

Emma Kate is the absolute joy of our lives.

I can never explain how much we love her, and I already feel like she is growing up too fast.  Where has the last 9 days gone?

Right now, she is filling up her diaper, and I don’t even mind!!

I’ll be updating soon, I hope, so bear with me.

Angel

Posted in Pregnancy

Preggo Update

We are officially on the countdown.  Tomorrow we hit the 39 week mark.  Only one more to go.  Maybe.  And I am pleased to announce that I have finally crossed over into the land of excitement. 

We went to the doctor yesterday for a sonogram and a check-in.  While I was working yesterday morning and anticipating the idea of seeing her face, I became overcome with joy and excitement.  As I laid on the sonographer’s table, I imagined a little face that would look exactly like the one we will behold in just a few more days.  How lucky we are to get a sneak peek.   The sonographer lubed my belly up and began rolling her wand around as we gazed at the screen.  We saw her kidneys, her bladder, the umbilical cord.  We heard the heartbeat and saw the blood flowing through the veins and arteries of the cord.  We discovered that she is head down (locked and loaded) as I like to call it.  She is estimated to weigh 7 lbs 11 oz, but that estimate can be off by a pound either direction.  And then the sonographer rolled her wand on her face. 

I would love to show it to you, but she doesn’t like having her picture taken.  Her hands were covering her face.

Here is a side profile we got with her hands as the big blob in front.  That is a beautiful eye though, isn’t it?

I’m beginning to think she might be a stinker.  When we wanted to find out her gender, she didn’t cooperate by keeping her legs crossed, now when we’re dying to see her face, she decided to play peek-a-boo instead. 

So the sonographer applied this vibrating buzzer to my belly to try to scare her, and when she finally moved her hand,we got a picture of her.  However, my dreams of seeing a beautiful baby vanished.  I can’t tell whether she looks more like an orangutan or Mike Jagger.

The smushed-nose, big-lipped baby

It’s the nose.  And the lips.  Some wise people I work with told me she’s all smushed in those tight quarters and it can’t be an accurate picture.  So, tonight I stood before the bathroom mirror and I smushed my own nose to compare it with hers.  Then I made my husband smush his nose.  There we sat staring at each other with our noses smushed flat trying to decide whose nose she has.  I’ve decided she has Mick Jagger’s. 

Remember, we have no TV here.  This is what people with no TV do.

But look at these older pictures.  They were taken on the same day back in October. 

The pig-nose, receding chin baby
 

The nose doesn’t look the same in any of them.  In fact, the baby doesn’t look the same in any of them.  So basically, we won’t know what she looks like until she slides out and hollers.  Still,  I’m preparing myself to feed her lots of bananas and teach her to the words to “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction.” 

When we saw the doctor yesterday, we were pleasantly surprised to discover I am dilated 2-3 cm.  He said it could be any day now.  

And so we wait to meet our little girl. 

And she’ll be beautiful.

Posted in Pregnancy

My dream

Upcoming monumental events cause me a bit of angst, anxiety, and apprehension. 

For example, each August I methodically prepare to meet a new group of second graders.  I hang posters, write out name tags, copy wonderfully engaging papers, plan ice breaking activities, and decorate my classroom door all in eager anticipation. 

It seems that no matter how long I’ve been teaching, every August I still get nervous.  With those nerves come dreams.  My anxiety permeates my subconscious.  It never fails, that my dreams are unpleasant.  No matter how prepared I am in the real world, in dreamland I am usually very unprepared for the first day of school.  My papers are not copied, the children are rowdy, no one knows which seat belongs to them, I’m late to class, or simply have no control over the students.  After a dream like the aforementioned, I usually wake up, mop my brow, and expel a big “Whew, glad that was only a dream.”  And then the first day of school comes off without a hitch.

Considering my past, I’ve been a little concerned as to why I’ve only dreamed about my baby once, and I haven’t dreamed about the labor or birth of my baby yet.  I mean, it’s not as if this is not an upcoming monumental event!  Or it’s not as if I’m not experiencing some angst, anxiety, and apprehension.  By now I should be riddled with night terrors.  But I’m not.

 I woke up this morning with a smile.  Why?  Because she visited me in my dream, and it wasn’t a horrific labor that caused me to sit up with sweat gluing  my gown to my back.  Nor was she sick or crying.  She was sleeping, and I walked into her nursery and there she was lying on her stomach (yes I know, she should be one her back). 

She was a tiny little thing sleeping peacefully.  I reached down into her crib and placed my hand on her back to rub her gently.  She awoke.  Not the sleepy-eyed, grumpy kind of awakening, but rather a “yea, my mommy’s here!” kind of awakening.  You know how weird dreams can be, so although her body was small, she was much older and developmentally capable of more.  She sat on her knees with her arms outstretched.  I picked her up, but I couldn’t see her face.  Her hair was brown and mussed and it grew down into a point on her forehead, kind of like Dracula needing a haircut in the worst way.  I remember wanting to see her face so badly, wondering what she looked like.  I was seeing her for the first time.  I reached my forefinger towards her hair and swept it to the left out of her eyes.  And there she was.  She wasn’t anything spectacular or breathtaking to behold.  She was a baby.  My baby.  A baby I’ve never seen before until last night. 

She had small brown eyes, and chubby cheeks, and a pudgy little nose.  And when she smiled, two little bottom teeth appeared.  She was happy and energetic and glad to see me.  It was as if she’d been waiting to see me as long as I’ve been waiting to see her.  But what made the dream so realistic was the fact that her nose was dirty, and her eyes were sleep-filled.  Little dried sleepies rested in the corner of her eyes, and her nose had run in the night and she had dried crusties on the edge of her nostrils. 

Then I carried her to the living room and handed her to her daddy because I was late for work.  My house filled with people, strangers that I didn’t know.  I was upset because no one had woken me for work, and my face scrub was missing out of my shower, and someone had rummaged through all my cabinets and nothing was where is was supposed to be.   Then I was running a race on the highway.  You know how weird dreams can be. 

I wanted to write my baby dream down however, because I am clinging to that image in my mind.  As the hours pass, it’s vanishing, ever so slowly, because that’s what a dream will do.  There will be a fading, and then a fragment here and there, until it’s forgotten completely. 

We’re down to 11 days until her due date.  On Thursday, I’m having a sonogram.  There isn’t any concern, but the doctor would like to get a birth weight estimate and check my fluids.  I think it’s just a way to get more money, but at least we’ll get to see her little face and I’m sure I’ll post the pictures.

And then, a few days after that, we’ll get to see her face for real.  It won’t be long until we’ll stumble through the house in the dark, sweep her hair off her forehead, pick her up from her crib, clean her crusty nose and boogery eyes, smother her in kisses, tell her how glad we are to see her, and how much we love her. 

It won’t be long.