Archive for the ‘The Baby’ Category
It has been quite a month.
Just before Thanksgiving, the baby got a cold from daycare, his second in 3 weeks. He passed it along to me and I donated it generously to my husband, who got a horrible cough. Like, slept in the living room because he was waking everyone up all night long cough. Just as he was starting to turn a corner, he had to go to Seattle for a conference.
The day after he got back he called me from work, sounding extra
dramatic sick. He said he felt like the cold started over again and that he had a fever. I brushed him off because I’ve known him for over 10 years and in that time he has never once run a fever (but has claimed to be at least a dozen times). But it turns out he was actually sick and when I got home that night he really was running a fever. I am a jerk, it seems.
Two days later Eli spiked a high fever out of the blue and Will jumped on the bandwagon a few days later. It was ugly. Really, truly ugly.
Even before getting sick, Will had suddenly become a very fussy eater. He would go 4, 5, 6 hours, during the day, without eating. At daycare he wouldn’t drink more than an ounce out of a bottle, where before he was drinking 3-4 ounces without issue. And when I tried to feed him, either nursing or a bottle, he would scream hysterically. This ebbed and flowed a bit- some days it happened once, some days it happened at every feeding, but for a solid week, feeding was a struggle.
The Friday after everyone but me got sick, I took both boys to the pediatrician for what was originally a flu vaccine appointment for Eli (second dose) and Will’s 4 month well check, though neither of them really got those done. It turned out that Eli had a terrible sinus infection and fluid in both ears, and Will had fluid in one ear. Eli got antibiotics, Will got a wait and see but here’s a prescription just in case prescription. Over the weekend both boys improved, with the exception of Will’s eating, where things got worse until they reached an apex of awful.
On Sunday (the 21st), we had Chanukah at my SIL’s house and Will all but refused to eat for the six hours we were there. I chalked it up to the place being loud and unfamiliar and him being tired and assumed he’d nurse when we got home. But instead, when I went to nurse him, something scary and weird happened.
I put him on the nursing pillow and laid him on his side, and he all of a sudden arched his whole spine and stayed rigidly arched to the point where I could’ve practically balanced him on his head and toes. At the same time, his eyes looked upward and wouldn’t focus on anything no matter what I tried. And he screamed. It was an unfamiliar low pitched scream and it wouldn’t stop. For 3-4 minutes he was like this. I tried everything, my husband tried everything and nothing worked. I was nothing short of hysterical.
Thankfully it all took place in front of my husband, who just happens to be a neurologist with an interest in seizures and also the calmest person ever. After those longest 3-4 minutes, the screaming finally stopped. He relaxed and started to fall asleep. The same thing happened, to slightly less severe degrees at 2am and again at 6am. My husband assured me that it wasn’t a real seizure, but that it looked like something called Sandifer Syndrome. It’s a disorder associated with GERD where babies have pseudoseizures (events that look like seizures but are not neurologically driven) as a defense mechanism because eating is so painful for them. Which, while I was thrilled that he wasn’t having real seizures, just about knocked me down with how sad it was. Will had once been a comfort nurser, he would eat all day if I’d let him, but now it was causing him tremendous pain.
We went to the pediatrician again on Monday who said Will still had fluid in his ear and suggested we do the antibiotics just in case and also wrote us a prescription for Zantac. He got the first dose at around 7 on Monday night and went to sleep at 9 and slept until 5:30- his longest stretch of sleep ever. He hasn’t duplicated that effort since then (4 month sleep regression is going to be the death of me), but he has been a different baby. He drinks 3 ounces at daycare, he nurses happily. He still spits up all day long, but he’s not in obvious discomfort, which is an incredible relief. We do need to adjust his Zantac dosing since there seem to be gaps in it’s effectiveness in the late afternoon and early morning, but even still, it’s such a huge improvement that I cannot complain.
So that’s part of why the blog has been quiet. I’ve been caring for sick little boys and sad little boys and just trying to stay afloat. But! I have blogging plans. I do not expect this site to go quietly into the night. As soon as Will is past this sleep regression, I have hopes of him actually going to bed before 9pm and me having a few hours of quiet time at night once again. Or so I hope.
It’s August 1st, which means that I will officially be having a baby this month (trust me, if he’s over 2 weeks late, I will perform my own c-section before September rolls around). Tomorrow I hit 38 weeks, which means my due date is in 15 days. Which is bananas.
The last time I was this pregnant, I was psychologically a disaster. My OB had assured me that Eli would arrive by the end of April. When May rolled around, I lost it. I was angry and frustrated and more than anything, I was anxious to meet my son. I was experiencing the normal discomforts of late pregnancy, but nothing serious. It was a head game.
This time, it’s very much the opposite. I do want to meet this baby and I am excited beyond description for him to arrive, but I am not, at least psychologically, in a rush. I want him to stay in until he’s ready. But holy crap is this pregnancy physically a lot more awful. (Let’s be clear- none of this is atypical, none of this is worse than anyone else’s pregnancy experience. I have good perspective here, it doesn’t mean that parts of it don’t suck.)
For the past 6 weeks I’ve had pubic symphysis pain like I did not know could exist. It feels basically like someone kicked me in the crotch all day long. It’s good times. On top of that, the headaches that have been so delightfully absent since the 2nd trimester blood volume increase have come roaring back, almost daily. And, because that isn’t fun enough, I can’t feel 3 of my fingertips on my right hand, because apparently you can get carpal tunnel from pregnancy. THE MORE YOU KNOW.
This morning my OB sent me over to labor and delivery to be monitored because the baby has been minimally active and my fundal height/weight aren’t increasing the way they’d like. Happily, the baby looks awesome (and he sucks his thumb!), and despite having contractions every 3-5 minutes, a cervical check showed that I am clearly not having this baby imminently. Wah wah.
In the meantime, we’re continuing to try to get Eli excited about being a big brother, which so far is not going well at all. We bought him a baby doll, hoping it would increase his interest in babies. Let’s just say, it did not. He does not want the pretend baby to touch anything of his. He does not want the pretend baby to be near him and there is absolutely zero chance that he will considering holding or intentionally touching the baby.
He did get marginally excited about the prospect of being a big brother after reading a book where the big brother saved the little brother last night (Come Out and Play Little Mouse), but that’s about it so far. I know he’ll come around, I just feel bad for the way his life is going to change, even though I know in the long term it’s going to be great.
So now we wait. And hopefully soon we’ll have more excitement to report. Let’s go August!
I think I have been in a bit of denial about the impending birth of my second child. The first trimester was so long and so slow and I wanted it to go faster and now that I’m at the end, I am trying desperately to find more time. Despite the fact that I’m having another boy, things could not feel more different this time.
I’m less nervous about the birth than I was last time. That’s just a product of it no longer being an unknown. I know that it is going to hurt like hell and that epidurals are amazing. I know that the pain will be temporary and I am trying to not forget that the contractions don’t stop when the baby is born, because that made the second day kind of traumatically upsetting last time. I’m told it’s worse this time, but even that is short lived, I know.
I am much more nervous about breastfeeding, and then also less nervous about not breastfeeding. With Eli I was a disaster. He was born, they put him on my chest, he wiggled his way to my breast and then he did nothing. Did not root, did not suck, did not have any interest in any of that for anything other than a pillow. For two hours of bonding time we tried to convince him and he was not having it. The nurse tried to stimulate his rooting and sucking reflex and…nothing. He didn’t eat a thing for almost 24 hours.
I carry some guilt about this, because I was trying so hard to be relaxed and not one of those crazy new mothers that I didn’t ask for the help I needed. I just went with the, he’ll figure it out, and when he didn’t, I still tried to stay calm. I let lactation consultants discharge us when we weren’t anywhere near ready to be independent with feeding and then when it didn’t work out, I got so obsessed with succeeding on some level that I cried when I had to supplement with formula and I pumped 6-8 times a day for a year.
Let’s say that virtually none of that is going to happen this time around. I’m going to try to be relaxed, but I’m going to advocate for us. I’m not going to get caught up in the formula is evil for only my baby mindset and am going to feed my child however works best for us. I want breastfeeding to work, but not at the expense of my sanity. I lost so much time with Eli to pumping and crying and worrying and I will not do that this time.
While I was sure I was going to go early last time and was instead 6 days overdue, I still have a suspicion I won’t make it to my due date with this one. Partially it’s just a weird gut feeling, and partially it’s that I was already dilating and effacing at 26 weeks and have contracted all the live long day since then. If these contractions strengthen the uterus, mine is an absolute beast by now.
Eli was an excruciating 6 days overdue and I was awful. I was homicidal. I hated everyone and everything. I won’t do that this time. This time I will remember that Eli was only 6 pounds and 15 ounces after being overdue and it’s clear my body waited for a reason. If this baby doesn’t come early, I know it’ll be for a reason. I know my doctor will monitor me and make sure everything is safe and then I have to trust that my body knows what it’s doing.
And while all of that sounds like I have things mentally in control, that’s…not entirely true. I am terrified of the transition from 1 to 2. I feel like Eli is going to struggle and it makes me sad and scared. I’m worried I won’t be able to take care of them both alone, which I will have to do a lot of and, which is not a surprise, obviously, just a fear. I fear the sleepless nights followed by the toddler mornings. I can’t even talk about how scared I am to go back to work when this baby is only 14 weeks old (I know many people have it tougher, I just had a bit more time with Eli). For all the knowns this time, there are still so many unknowns left.
I have 5.5 weeks left until my due date and I know most of this stuff will play itself out one way or another, but I am both totally ready and not even a little bit ready. Life is crazy that way. I’m horribly uncomfortable and exhausted, but I’m also comfortable with life as I know it. And we all know that change is never a good thing. I guess unless it’s tiny and cute and a baby.
In the past few months there have been several articles about overprotective parenting and the ill effects of being a helicopter parent. I have opened all of the ones that have crossed my internet screen and find myself, time and time again, rolling my eyes.
There’s this one that says that being overprotective will cause your child to be depressed and incompetent in college. Or this one, that says that if you’re overprotective, your kid will be bullied. Or this one, that says we’re raising a “nation of wimps.” And let me be clear, it’s not that these results are insignificant. No mother wants their child to be depressed or incompetent (whatever the limits of that term may be) and certainly we never want our child to be bullied. I’m not saying that. I’m just saying that I think we need to take a look at what overprotective parenting really is, because I think the definition is getting a little lost.
My child will be 2 next month. He rides rear facing in a car seat, and he will until he outgrows his car seat. He wears a helmet whenever we go bike riding. We put shoes on when we walk outside. We put sunscreen on him in the sun and we wash his hands after he plays outside. We force him to hold our hands when we walk across streets or in busy public areas and we even sometimes use a cart cover when we put him in the cart at the grocery store. And these things, simple though they seem to me, have me pegged by many parents as overprotective.
I am an overprotective parent because I read research about car seat safety. I am an overprotective parent because I eliminate risks in my child’s life and because I watch out for safety hazards. I am an overprotective parent because I love my kid so damn much that I don’t want him to get hurt. And I just have to say, I’m really sorry that I’m not sorry.
The leading cause of death in 2010 for children was unintentional injury. Obviously not all unintentional injuries are avoidable, but a whole lot of them are. My child suffered a preventable, unintentional injury that could’ve been catastrophic. I wish I had been more protective and I know that many parents across this country feel similarly.
The leading causes of unintentional death in children in 2010 includes suffocation (under age 1), unintentional drowning (ages 1-4), car accident (ages 4-24). When spelled out this way, it’s hard to not see how some of these can be prevented. There are safe sleeping guidelines to prevent suffocation and following those does not make one an overprotective parent. Unless you ask in the internet. In which case, suggesting that a new mother not use crib bumpers, because they’ve been shown to increase the risk of suffocation, makes you a worry wart and a person who sees a risk in everything and these people feel sorry for our kids. Or suggesting that one needs a gate around their pool or an alarm on a door going out to the pool means you don’t trust your kids or that you’re a bad parent. Keeping your child rear facing until the NHTSA recommended age of 4, and keeping them harnessed until they max out their forward facing car seat or keeping a child in a booster beyond the bare minimum and until their seatbelt actually fits them makes you a hovering, uptight, helicopter parent.
I cannot tell you how many times I’ve read that I am handicapping my kid for life by keeping him rear facing. I can’t tell you how many parents I’ve seen say that we don’t need to keep kids in boosters beyond the age of 8, even if they’re small, because “we survived.” The implication is that if you put your child’s safety, and current research, ahead of what has always been done, you’re somehow a lesser parent. You’re somehow weaker and by connection, so is your child.
And here’s what I think every time I read one of these studies. Yes, my child’s emotional health is incredibly important. Yes, letting my child experience life is critical to his development. But ignoring safety laws and regulations is not overprotective parenting. It’s being a good parent. It’s being a protective parent. And I would rather be called a helicopter parent every single day for the rest of my life than have my child become a statistic. I would rather get my child help for depression and incompetence in college, or manage bullying, than be another tally on the list of avoidable deaths or injuries.
Being a helicopter parent may result in more cautious kids, but since when is having a healthy understanding of safety a bad thing? Since when is caring about the safety of your child a joking matter? It’s not.
I am a protective parent. And I’m really not sorry about it.
Our big anatomy ultrasound is in a week, which both feels like it has snuck up and also like it’s still a million years away. And I can honestly say, while I am so very excited to know, I absolutely could not care less about the sex of the baby. Truly. But I want to know noooooow.
When I was pregnant with Eli, I thought I wanted a girl. Not because I didn’t want a boy, but because I had grown up with girls. I had a sister, a half sister and 3 step sisters. My female cousins outnumbered the male ones 3:1. I just didn’t feel equipped to have a boy since I never really knew any young boys. And yet, now I find myself the very happy mother of one. And it’s funny because I kind of quickly adopted the boy mom mentality, and now I find it challenging to picture having a daughter. Again, not because I don’t want one, just because now, ironically, I don’t feel equipped to have one.
But, since day one of this pregnancy, I’ve felt strongly that this baby is a girl. I know every pregnancy is different, but the levels upon which this pregnancy differs from Eli’s only serves to convince me of that more and more. And so I thought it might be fun to do some of the old wives tales to predict the sex just to see how right/wrong they are.
I’ll start with the Chinese Gender Chart (which yes, should be sex not gender. But I didn’t make it, so I am not responsible for the name). Based on my due date and birth date the baby should be a boy. It correctly predicted that Eli was a boy.
Mayan prediction- the myth is that Mayans predicted gender by looking at the mother’s age at conception and the year of conception. If both are odd or even, it’s a girl. If they’re different, it’s a boy. I was 30 when I conceived this baby and the year was 2013, so boy. Just for fun, I was 28 when I conceived Eli and I got pregnant with him 2011, so he would also be predicted to be a boy.
Carrying height- the old wives tale is that if you’re carrying low, it’s a boy. If you’re carrying high, it’s a girl. I’m definitely carrying higher than I did with Eli, but still relatively low. I think this one is kind of a wash, but since it’s higher than I was carrying with Eli, I’ll put it under girl.
This is me now, at 17 weeks, 2 days (and let’s be real, I’m about 10-15 pounds heavier now than I was then, but a few months ago, my stomach was SIGNIFICANTLY less protrude-y than my boobs. Also, OMG I miss my body.):
Heart rate- Eli’s heart rate was consistently in the 160s throughout my pregnancy. This baby started in the 160s and has dropped to the 140s. If we’re going by same v. different, I’d predict girl, but per the old wives tale, it means a boy. So.
Cravings- the myth goes- sweet cravings are a boy, sour means girl. With Eli this was pretty true. I did have some sour cravings, but I also ate cinnamon rolls for breakfast every single day for almost 3 months, so I’d say sweet was more prevalent. This time, my sweet tooth has been super mild, in fact, I’ve not wanted to eat sweets a lot of the time. I’ve craved sour and other strong flavors- this week mostly goat cheese and balsamic vinegar. So I think this one goes to the girl category.
Morning sickness- the tale says that more morning sickness means a girl. In which case, I’d like to say that this is the girliest girl there has ever been. Because at 17 weeks, I’m still dry heaving every morning. It’s pure misery.
Skin- the myth is that if you’re breaking out, it’s a girl (because she’s “stealing your beauty”) and if you’re not, it’s a boy. I’m not glowing (unless you count the excessive sweating all damn day), but my face is totally clear. So again, boy. And my skin was similarly clear with Eli (to be fair, and so not to brag because I take absolute shit care of my skin, I have always had relatively clear skin and this is largely due to wonderful and entirely fortunate genetics. Please don’t hate me.)
The ring test- Tie a ring on a string and hold it above your belly. The tale says if it swings in a line it’s a boy, if it swings in a circle it’s a girl. I’m putting absolutely no stock in this test because it sounds completely ridiculous (because all the others make so much sense, I know), but also, I did it with my 8 dollar Target ring (my wedding ring does not fit right now) and on a necklace chain instead of a string. For what it’s worth, it swung in a line, so, boy.
Family predictions are overwhelmingly girl, with the sole exception of my dad who says boy. My grandfather, who predicted that Eli was a boy from the very start also says girl, with great confidence.
The final tally is, girl 4, boy 5. Interesting. The same tests would’ve favored boy 7 to 1 with Eli (didn’t do the scientific ring test with Eli, tragically), so it’s definitely interesting.
Regardless of the outcome, I’m so ready to know. Guesses?
Depending upon how you count it, I either made it to the second trimester 2 weeks ago (developmental timing?), last week (normal math) or this week (weird math). I don’t really care how you count, I am just glad to be moving to this next phase and running away from the last one.
I can’t even begin to explain how different this pregnancy has been. I don’t want to categorize it as bad, because I know that in the global scheme of pregnancies, it’s not bad. I haven’t had to have IV fluid, I haven’t needed a trip to the doctor besides my normal check ups, no bleeding or scary complications, several normal wonderful ultrasounds. I mean, this is not bad. It’s just so different. And I think what I’ve realized is that it has felt very difficult to me because I was not prepared.
With Eli I was vaguely nauseous a few times in the first trimester, had contractions through the entire third trimester, was homicidal the week before he was born and had a relatively easy labor and delivery. And that was it. It was easy. The contractions were obnoxious, but once we realized they weren’t doing anything, they were just an inconvenience. No real nausea, no real fatigue, not one single headache. I thought I was born to be pregnant.
I was mistaken.
This time around, I have struggled each day for the past almost 9 weeks with nausea. The first 6 weeks of it were brutal, to me. Partially because I wasn’t prepared and partially because I do not handle nausea well at all. I mean, AT ALL. So dry heaving all over my living room, throwing up whole Zofran or stomach bile all over the parking lot, not being able to even take a bite of dinner or watch my child eat a meal was rough. Again, not horrible or dehydrating or scary. Just really, really unpleasant. It is finally letting up a lot and I could not be more grateful. I’m still queasy in the mornings and need to move slowly, but the evenings are good more often than not, and the afternoons are easy. I still haven’t gained an ounce, but I’m not listing that as a negative at all. I have 20 Eli pounds to help cushion this baby, I can stand to not gain a ton.
And then there’s the headaches. Before I got pregnant with Eli, I had nearly constant headaches. They were awful and I spared no detail in whining about them (sorry I’m not really sorry). And then I got pregnant and they just stopped. I mean, completely altogether stopped. My neurologist could only guess that the increased blood volume improved my pressures and that was why, but regardless of the reason, it was amazing. And I told my husband I was just going to get pregnant over and over if they came back. And thankfully they didn’t ever get back to their prior awfulness, but I had some here or there, mostly related to hormones.
And then there’s this pregnancy. Holy hell. I have had almost constant headaches for the past 2-3 weeks. It seems to be primarily the pressure from dry heaving that triggers them, along with the stress on my neck (they’re really cervicogenic more than anything), but dude, they’re awful. I finally resorted to a category C migraine medication on Friday because I was on day 3 of what started as a pressure thing and ended up as a migraine and I was ready to lay down on the freeway and let cars run over me. It worked and has been a little better since, but I’m pretty sure that this baby is made primarily of Zofran and Tylenol.
I’m also visibly pregnant already. My uterus has some kickass muscle memory.
It’s just so very different this time, and I was not prepared for any of it. I am thrilled to be having this baby, and finally starting to feel like I’m slightly in control of my life again, but it’s been really surprising the whole way through. I started having painless contractions this week, but for now I’m just trying to ignore them and take it easy. My hope is that this sort of rough first trimester will pave the way for an easy 2nd and 3rd. That seems likely, right?
Either way, I know that in the end it’s worth it and that I really just need to adjust my expectations. I need to not expect the remaining 25 weeks to be a repeat of Eli’s gestation because that’s not the case, and the sooner I get that fact in my head, the better for everyone. I do have to say that I hope the outcome is the same though, because I have the best little kid ever, and I’ll take 40 weeks of nausea and fatigue and headaches if I’m lucky enough to get another wonderful little person like Eli in my life. He’s beyond worth it and I’m sure this one will be too.
Every once in a while, I’ll have a day where I’m nearly overcome with love for Eli. I know it sounds just painfully cheesy and it feels that way too, but there are just days where all I want to do is kiss his little cheeks and tell him over and over how much I love him. Today was one of those days.
I think part of it is because we’re on the downhill side of a couple of tough weeks, behaviorally speaking. Eli is a very typical toddler. He wants to know where his boundaries are and what happens when he tests them. I know it’s normal and it is what he’s supposed to do, but it doesn’t make the parenting part of that any less tough. I know he needs rules and consequences, but sometimes it’s just exhausting to have days where it seems that the word no comes out more than anything else. And where all attempts at positive reinforcement and redirection are laughably useless.
Thankfully, the past few days have been good ones. Ones where we’re still maintaining the boundaries, but he’s comfortably living within them instead of slingshotting himself at them over and over to see how strong they are.
He’s just the coolest little person. Today I asked him what letter the letter E was and I know he knows it because he points it out everywhere and he just said, clear as day, “I don’t know.” He’s never said that before and I didn’t even know he knew what it meant. But he used it perfectly (I mean, aside from the part where he knows what letter E is). He seems to learn new things every day and it’s like every day is a treasure hunt to find the new stuff, to see how he has changed, how he has grown in the previous 24 hours.
When Eli first started daycare, I missed him fiercely. Like, cried myself to work, looked at pictures of him all day and just hated being away. And then we went through a bit of a transition where I really saw the benefit of daycare. We both did well with some time away, with our separate identities and our social interactions. But I almost feel like we’ve come full circle in a way. I miss him now, as much as I used to, but not in a sad way, just in the way where I wonder what he’s doing and saying and I want to be there to see it all. I’m not going to quit my job, but it really makes me feel more grateful for the days I get to stay home with him.
Watching him grow up is truly one of my greatest privileges.
I was warned about the toddler years and while I’ve only gotten the smallest taste so far, I know that the warnings are true. But I also know that the tough parts seem to make the rest of it seem so much better. It’s like, we had a tough week, I had to step up to the parenting plate and now that things have eased, I can sit back and see this incredible person again. I can see how smart and fun and joyful he is and it’s even better than it was a few weeks ago.
Just to put the cheesy icing on the cheesy feelings cake, all day I have been thinking about a line from A League of Their Own. I think in parenting, much like baseball (apparently?), “the hard is what makes it great.” If this is what toddlerhood is I am ready to embrace it with open arms. Even the hard, because the great is really, really great.
There are rules about when you tell various people your secrets. Usually you start with your family, the closest members first. And gradually spread out from there. And typically “strangers” are the last to know. But I’m going to break the rules. Partially because I’m a terrible secret keeper, partially because this is a blog about my life and this is about all that’s going on in my life and partially because the internet is a tremendous support system for me, so I feel like I will benefit from it.
So, since I’m not really sure how much longer I can beat around the bush here, I’ll just come out with it. I’m pregnant.
I’m not very far along (about 8 weeks), but we had our first appointment today, saw the little tiny baby and it’s adorable flickering heartbeat and well, it’s feeling very real, if early and small, right now.
Truthfully, it’s been real for a while since this baby has been kicking my butt 8 ways to Sunday. The fatigue set in surprisingly early and is much worse than it was with Eli. I was nearly convinced that there was more than one baby in there because napping almost daily and going to bed early isn’t even enough to manage the fatigue. And the nausea has been much worse this go around, though thankfully it’s only been here for a week or so. As a non-puker, throwing up a whole Zofran last week was a real low point for me. My doctor gave me a stronger prescription for the nausea today, so I’m hopeful that I can get it under control soon.
Besides tired and pukey, we are very, very excited. This was very much a planned baby and we are so excited to see Eli as a big brother and for our family to grow. We love being parents and cannot wait to welcome another baby into our home (well, our next home, at least), I can’t even tell you how over the moon we are. Though August is a long way away, we are so looking forward to the coming months and all the changes heading our way.
I think that’s about it. I guess there’s really no denying that this really is a mommy blog now. But from where I stand (okay fine, sit), that’s a pretty great thing.
p.s. We are not going to post this on our private facebook pages until a bit longer, so if you happen to know us in real life, please please please keep it under wraps until we decide we’re ready for everyone to know. Thanks!
p.p.s. I hate to even go here, but because it will inevitably come up, let me just say that this was a decision that was made with full support of my mental health team and everyone there was totally on board with our plan. My OB is totally fine with the medication I’m taking and everything is going swimmingly in the mental and physical health arenas.
The other night as I was showering before bed I had this intense flashback to 8-9 months ago. We were in the midst of attempt number 8 million to transition Eli to his crib and I was rushing through the shower in hopes that I’d get out before Eli woke up, screaming, for the umpteenth night in a row. I remember hurrying through every step of the shower, even once forgetting to rinse out the conditioner, just hoping that unlike the past 4 nights, I’d get all the way through. And that perhaps this would be the night he didn’t wake up horribly upset at all.
I remember clearly the stress I felt about sleep training, about that transition that was so difficult for us. It was all consuming at the time. I wondered if we’d ever figure it out, if Eli would ever sleep through a night. Everything felt so important, so big, in the moment. And now, it seems so small. So insignificant.
I belong to a few mom groups and one of the things I see all the time is moms of very young babies (6 weeks!) asking how they can get their babies to nap because they don’t want to build bad habits by letting their baby nap on them. I am not criticizing these mothers, not at all, I was one of them. I get that pressure and concern because I had it. And, now, being far removed from that point of parenting, all I want to say to them is please, please hold that baby. Please let that baby nap on you. Please take an hour, maybe 2, and just soak up those snuggles, that closeness, without worrying about tomorrow or next month. Because before you know it, that tiny infant will be almost 18 months old and in the infrequent occasions where he wants to snuggle, he will take up your entire lap with his long legs and wiggly body.
I just want to tell these moms that these moments, all of them, are fleeting. This is what I’ve learned. Everything about infancy, about toddlerhood is fleeting. As soon as you get used to something, it stops. As soon as you stress about something, it’s finished. These things that feel so huge and pressing, they’re just a tiny moment in a life.
I was so absorbed in the drama around getting Eli to sleep in a crib, or at least not in a rock n play, that I couldn’t see how brief that stage really was. I couldn’t see that it would be over and we’d be onto something else soon enough. That someday I’d take a shower, leisurely, without worrying about a screaming baby and having to decide where and how to get him back to sleep. That someday, Eli would sleep peacefully through the night without my help. I couldn’t see that we would all be fine.
It’s taken me a long time to get to this point where I feel like I need to enjoy every second of Eli’s life, instead of letting myself get completely wrapped up in the problem of the day. It doesn’t mean that it doesn’t still happen from time to time, but it happens less and I enjoy motherhood so much more. Realizing how far we’ve come, how much we’ve both learned, is a big deal.
And I think that in finally seeing how brief these moments are, it’s easier to enjoy them. To realize that though things really do feel monumental, they’re really just momentary. Every stage and struggle is fleeting, but this child is mine forever.
Last night at 2am I woke up somewhat suddenly, but for no apparent reason. I looked around to sort of settle myself and finally glanced at the baby monitor, which is when I noticed that something with Eli was off. It looked like his blanket was across his throat, but I couldn’t see either end of it, which was unusual. I thought maybe it wasn’t a blanket but a stuffed animal or his smaller lovie, but I had this nagging feeling that it needed further investigation. So I went into his room.
It turns out that it was his regular blanket (which is an Aden + Anais swaddle blanket) and it was wrapped around his neck twice. My head was positively shrieking with panic, but I managed to stay quiet, unwrap his blanket while only barely waking him up, replace his a pacifier, give him a kiss and a butt pat and leave the room.
And then I did the most incredible thing. I went back to sleep.
Look, I know that doesn’t sound incredible, but for me, it really was. After months of horribly broken sleep, and hours of laying awake panicking, this is really a huge deal. There are times I really struggle to see the progress I’ve made in the past few months, but this is one that I feel really proud of (even if a small part of me also thinks that this is entirely the fault of the medication and wants to take away all credit because that’s how I am, but whatever).
I think one of the biggest parts of that experience, for me, was feeling like I could trust my intuition. It has been really difficult to parent my child, never knowing if listening to my gut was the right thing. My gut has a tendency to overreact and I never really know if a perceived danger is serious or if I’m catastrophizing something insignificant. And last night, I was able to identify that Eli needed me to do something, do it, and not flip out in the process.
This is what I always thought parenting would be. I thought I would be supermom- not needing help, not needing reassurance, but I have been the opposite. I have felt like I can’t trust myself for months now, it’s an issue that hasn’t let up and is always intensified when my husband is out of town. I never feel like I can make a parenting decision without approval, not because my husband requires me to do so, but because I don’t trust myself to make the right decision. Last night, without hesitation, I made the right decision.
And while I have spent a fair portion of today worried about how to deal with this situation since Eli is very devoted to sleeping with a blanket (almost never under it), I was able to work through it and come up with a solution that is working for him and for me. Am I likely to check the monitor more frequently tonight? Yes. Am I still doing much better than I would’ve been 2 months ago? Absolutely.
There is still work to be done, but there’s no denying that progress has been made and that things are moving very much in the right direction. And it feels really, really good.