I can’t stop returning. The length of time in between might grow longer, but eventually the words will need to make their way out. I was afraid I had lost this blog after I accidentally erased several letters I had written to my children when I switched website hosts. I couldn’t bear the thought of losing even more memories. I decided it was time to write more frequently…for them, for me. You’ve read those words before. Good intentions…
This blog is kind of like my pet fish…I always forget to feed him, and yet every time I look in his bowl, he is still swimming. This site is still hanging out in the inter webs…I just need to FEED IT! Easier said, than done. I could list an obscene amount of excuses as to why I haven’t written, or I could just post an adorable photo of the reason my boobs will sag for the rest of my life and my nipples are pretty much numb:
I need to write more. It is a constant struggle to make the time…sort of like finding the time to workout (except I actually LIKE to write)…I just need to wrap my head around it and do it. Anyway, let me tell you about my kids…
They are amazing. I love every minute of being a mother. And it is everything I thought it would be and more. And if you aren’t a mother and plan to be, you will read this and yearn to get knocked up as soon as possible. And if you already are a mother, you will agree with me and keep all the stuff no one talks about to yourself. But I’m here to tell you that even though it is the best thing that has ever happened to me, I have never felt more unlike myself in my entire life.
1. Pep talks to myself are a must. I give them before going to the grocery store, to family members’ homes, before company comes over, or pretty much before coming into contact with anyone who isn’t my children, husband or parents. The hormones that come along with postpartum-ism (new word!) are no joke. The “Baby Blues” are real, and I feel for any woman who heads on into full-blown Post-Partum Depression because just a touch of the blues has me feeling like a nutcase. I feel anxiety being in large crowds, when someone I don’t know well or see often wants to hold my baby, look at my baby, breathe on my baby or asks me questions about my baby. This extends even to talking to Nia. I want to wrap up my kids and usher them away into the house and hug them away from the world. I find myself wanting to hide, and I don’t want anyone to come into my bubble. I force myself to allow company over to see the baby, but as soon as they leave, I breathe a huge sigh of relief that they are gone. Under normal circumstances I am not a hermit…but I spent the last two days leaving the house on small errands with my mom and now I don’t want to leave this house for another week or so.
2. The Tears are Unpredictable. I am not a crier. Yeah, I cry at movies and if I’m angry or if someone I love is hurt or dies…I mean , I’m HUMAN! But I’m not one of those girls who can turn on the tears when I get a speeding ticket or if I’m just having a bad day. But now? I cry because Sammy needs to eat again, or because I can’t sleep for more than two hours at a stretch (because Sammy needs to eat again), or because Nia just wants me to play with her but I can’t (because Sammy needs to eat again). I cry when Tony asks me if I’m ok…I don’t have a reason to cry. I couldn’t even tell you what’s wrong. I just feel like I’m going to cry a lot.
3. Showers are a Luxury. If you are a new mom and get one daily, please email me and tell me how you are doing this. If it is because you have a husband who watches the kids for you so you can shower, don’t email me. I don’t have one of these (see #4).
4. Husbands are no help. At least mine isn’t. He is afraid he doesn’t hold the baby correctly or that he will hurt him, or maybe he just thinks that it’s the mom’s job to do everything baby-related until the baby isn’t a baby anymore. All I know is that my husband carries his laptop around more in a 24-hour period than he does his newborn. In fact, he has only held him if I’ve asked him to…and he has not changed one diaper. Some will say this is my own fault for allowing it to be this way…these people are probably right. But I also know that he plays with my 2-year old like no one else does…so I know it’s only temporary. Time really does go so very fast…
Regardless of the craziness and the days that are SO HARD, I absolutely cherish holding my children in my arms every second I am able. My favorite times of the day are Nia’s bed time (NOT because she is going to sleep ) and then feeding Sam his last feed before I attempt to go to bed. These two times of the day allow me one on one time with each of them. Every time Nia snuggles into me when I am laying down with her and says, “Mama I wuv you” even if it is only a second before she’s elbowing me in the ear…my heart melts (and I cry, of course). When she’s finally asleep I tiptoe back to Sammy and rock him and kiss him and breathe him in, because OH MY LORD he will not be this little tomorrow, and if I think too much about how soon this will all be over…I can’t catch my breath.
It is an honor to be a mother…It is all-consuming love to be theirs.
This morning I told Nia we needed to change her diaper and get dressed so that I could take her to Deda’s house (my dad) for a little bit. She said, “Mama too?” I told her no because I had to go to see the doctor…she said, “Mama’s butt hurts?” It’s pretty bad when your two-year-old knows the extent of your third trimester hemorrhoid issues…
Other than that and the swollen feet and ankles and the extra pounds, I really can’t complain. I have two months left to go and I’m already bugging Tony about having a third baby…so this pregnancy thing must not be too terrible! (He refuses to discuss it, if that tells you anything.)
Our appointment today went really well, and Sammy’s dilated kidneys have resolved, so we are out of the woods with the pyelectasis scare. We also were able to see his PENIS, so now I am finally convinced that he is, indeed, a boy. But let me just tell you how annoyed I am with my dreams! They have been spot-on for two pregnancies, and now all of a sudden they are all wrong…I guess that post-retirement career in Psychic Medium will have to be put on hold. On the plus side, all the adorable boy clothes my mom and I bought were not a waste of money.
Nia helped Daddy put together Sammy’s bed and his room is starting to come together. Just in case it hasn’t hit me already, now it really feels like a baby will soon come to live with us.
She is becoming such a bundle of personality…I just want to hold on to her in an attempt to keep her this age forever. She shakes up my world like a snow globe, and I just don’t want the last flake to fall on these moments I have with her. But she refuses to be still, my little girl…
Thank You for breathing life into me and allowing me to experience this world, in all it’s wonder, beauty, perverseness, irreverence, and splendor. Without the ugliness would I truly appreciate the amazing gift you have given? Probably not. So Thank You.
Thank You for choosing two of the most humble, honest, truth-seeking people I have ever known to be my parents. They are so very good…they have taught me that You are the only perfection, yet the path to Your Kingdom is paved with overcoming our imperfections (I am constantly tripping over rocks). I pray that I can follow their lead with the beautiful lives with which you have blessed me.
Thank You for forgiveness…for allowing me to make mistakes time and time again, and then showing me the way I probably could have taken the first time…but making it clear that if I had, I would not have learned nearly as much. Thank You for education without the formality of books and pencils…lessons of the ego are much more difficult to conquer. Of course, there are other times when I show a side of this humanity that is anything but beautiful…Thank You for loving me anyway.
Thank You for Love, for the man I stand beside to walk this journey. He is kind and honest and full of complicated joy…just what I need. We learn so many of the rules separately, but find a common ground on which to walk that is smooth and winding. The view is amazing…
Thank You for my children. What we want is not always what is meant for us, and I know that it is not always given. One blessing is tugging on my pant leg right now begging for me to play with her, and the other is doing somersaults in my womb…You have given me what I wanted more than anything else. Thank You, Thank You, Thank You.
Thank You for the opportunity to heal the tiniest bodies arriving here on earth. Even if here only a short while, I am humbled and in awe of your creation….and I respect it. Always. Please give me the patience to continue to do this work in the face of those who don’t respect it. Please help me to extend forgiveness, just as you forgive. Sometimes I just need help…
Thank You for all the material things that afford us comfort: our home, our free time, our celebrations, our sweat pants, chocolate and coca-cola…books, movies, story time, dancing, singing, toys, pretty stationary that I rarely use but love to collect, warm blankets, Target & Home Goods…
Thank You mostly for giving me the time to revel in all of these blessings. They say that life is short and I don’t know how long I have here, nor do I want to know. So please know that I appreciate all that you have given, and my heart is full. I pray that You give me many, many more years to Thank You.
Let me just apologize right now because this is the first letter I have written to you. When mommy and Ujak were growing up, Ujak was always whining because Baba and Deda took more pictures of me when I was a baby than they did him. And then, the pictures that they did take of him, I was always in there smiling right next to him! I always thought that was funny, but now I see how difficult it is to give you something of your own because your sister takes up A LOT OF TIME! But I am going to try really hard to give you both special time, pictures, space of your own…because it’s important that you know that I love you both with equal fervor. I can’t wait to show you just how much that really is.
You are now kicking up a storm, especially when I have finally gotten comfortable in bed and ready for sleep. But I don’t mind. It’s our time to talk (I do most of the talking). Mostly, I ask you whether you are a boy or a girl because I so badly want to call you by your name! The doctors insist you are a boy, but from the time you were conceived, I have dreamed that you are a girl. I am afraid to call you the boy name Daddy and I have chosen for you in case you are, indeed, a girl! So instead I just call you my baby…and I suppose that’s just fine because I will be calling you that for the rest of my life anyway. We worked so hard for you and the most important thing to me is that you are mine; I’m so thankful that God has sent you to us.
I hope you are cozy in there, and I pray you are healthy. The doctors are worried about your kidneys so your Dad and I will get to see you again in a couple weeks so they can get another look at your plumbing. Let’s show them how perfect you are!
Keep growing in there (not too much, please)! In the meantime, we’ll keep having our little chats until I can kiss your sweet face.
“I needed a break” is the understatement of the decade. But I find myself missing the journal aspect of my blog. Being able to look back at my thoughts in black and white is a comfort I didn’t realize I would miss so much. And then there is my family…while posting photos on Facebook is convenient, it doesn’t replace the way my blog afforded me the gift to chronicle the way Nia has grown into the beautiful toddler she is now, or the way I feel right this moment as this baby is kicking me in the ribs.
I feel like I have a lot of catching up to do…so much has happened in almost two years. The best I can do is to cover the highs and lows and hope that the pictures and videos tucked away in my memory will pick up the slack for the in between.
If anyone takes the time to read this post, or any in the future, welcome to my life. But this time around my purpose is less self-indulgent. My second lap around the pond is going to be about leaving something behind for my children. Words, photos, memories that they can have when I’m gone and say, “wow…Mom was such a croaker.”
I wonder if you know that you break my heart into a million pieces everyday just with that little pointer finger.
You point at everything, and sometimes all at the same time saying, “what’s that?” (at least that’s what we think you’re saying). You point at the pictures of yourself on the refrigerator (what’s that?), you point at the pictures on the wall (what’s that?), you point to the corner of the ceiling, at the windows, at the baby food I missed when wiping off your high chair tray (what’s that? what’s that? what’s that?). You are curious about everything, as if you just now opened your beautiful eyes and took a look around. And when your father asks you, “Nia, where’s Mommy?” I wait for you to point at me and smile…and then you turn and point to the picture of me on the wall instead. You are incredible.
Last week you started to wave, clap your hands, and give kisses all at the same time. It was like you saved up for months and months and all of a sudden you were getting your skills together for your resume, and you were ready to impress. Well, you got the job, Baby. I was laying on the floor playing with you and you inched your chubby little face over to mine and looked me in the eye like you just now realized that we were in love…and then you leaned over and gave me a big, slobbery, baby kiss right on the mouth. It was such an affectionate and deliberate gesture for such a little person that it took me by surprise and I started to cry. But you just head-butted me and inched along your merry way as if to say, “I love you Mom, but now I have to go” and it made me so sad, and yet so proud to be your mother.
Tonight I gave you a bottle and then we stood to say your prayers. I started doing this with you a few weeks ago, and every time you have gotten excited and squealed because you are really into babies and you like to look at the icon of baby Jesus. But usually, that is the extent of it, so I kiss the icons to show you what to do and then it’s Good Night. But tonight, as we were saying the Lord’s Prayer, you knew what was coming, and before I could get to the end of the prayer, that adorable pointer finger of yours was pointing to the icon of Jesus. I brought it down off the shelf as I was finishing the prayer, and I held it up to your face…and you bent your sweet little head down…and kissed it.
And then a million more pieces of my heart just fell right onto the floor.
Somewhere between getting pregnant and now, I had a baby and lost all control of my spare time. I am committed to intending to write in this blog…wish me luck with that.
Nia is now two months old, and she will be graduating from high school soon I just know it. She already rolls over from her belly to her back, and she says, “Mama” (seriously…who cares if she doesn’t know that it means the most important person in her life!). Also, she can type sixty words per minute and get the boss his morning coffee, and all I’m saying is how many babies do you know who can do that?!
I absolutely adore her, and I REALLY adore the fact that because of her, I was able to not come to work for twelve whole weeks. And now that I’m back, let me tell you…that was the best gift anyone has ever given me. And now that she’s laid that precedent, I’m expecting miracles. Nia, make me rich so I never have to work again and I can spend every day watching your lips purse and your toes spread! (She’ll totally do it, you just watch…A-D-V-A-N-C-E-D, People!)
Just look what she can do with that smile:
See? You’re saying, “Awwww” and smiling, aren’t you…a genius, my daughter is…
Nia is now over a month old and I’m JUST NOW POSTING HER BIRTH STORY! Seriously, it’s taken this long for me to feel even a little bit normal. Anyway…I wrote this five weeks ago and it feels like five minutes ago.
Nia will be one week old tomorrow, and it seems like she has been here with us all along. She is a perfect blend of both Tony and I, and neither one of us could have imagined how much we would love her.
After our whole “experience” last Saturday with the Induction That Never Happened, we changed physicians and scheduled an appointment for an ultrasound the following Monday to determine how large the baby was. The ultrasound showed that she was 9 pounds, 7 ounces. I scheduled an appointment with the new doctor for the following day to discuss our options, and whether we would try for an induction again, or go ahead with a c-section. But before the end of the day on Monday, as I was walking around the house looking for something to keep my mind off of the fact that I was MISERABLE, I started to piss my pants…well, at least that’s what I thought was happening. But those kegal exercises weren’t working, and I couldn’t stop peeing! That’s when it hit me that my water was breaking. I ran to the bathroom and the liquid just kept coming. I quickly cleaned myself up and walked out to where Tony was playing video games and said, “ummm, Tony?”
“Yeah.” (Totally in half-listening-mode)
“I think my water just broke.”
He immediately jumped up off the couch and started pacing around the apartment like he was on a mission, and yet he had no idea what his mission was. I called the doctor’s office and explained to the nurse what had happened. I told her I wasn’t 100% sure it was my bag of water, but she said to go to the hospital anyway…and so we did. But before we even left the parking lot, as I was getting into the car…it started gushing all over again.
By the time we got to the hospital, I felt absolutely disgusting. In the movies and on TV they make it seem like the woman’s water breaks in a gush all over the floor and then the baby’s born and that’s it. Now I realize that there is a whole bunch of crap that happens in between, but the one thing I DIDN’T know, and that the nurses told me once I got there, is that once your water breaks…YOU NEVER STOP LEAKING GROSS SHIT ! I sat for sixteen and a half hours of labor with towels between my legs to catch the leakage. I just was not expecting that.
Anyway, back to the story…
So the nurses informed me that another doctor was on-call (third doctor in one week) that day and that they had paged her because I was, indeed, in labor. Shortly afterwards the doctor called and asked to speak with me. We discussed what I wanted to do because as she looked over my chart, she confirmed that Nia was a large baby and that I had not progressed very much (I was 2cm dilated at this point, but she was still at a minus 3 station). She said that if she had to guess, with this being my first baby and all the factors involved, my risk for a c-section should I choose to deliver vaginally was about 60%. At this point, I thought that I would probably end up with surgery, but if there was a small chance that I could avoid it, I was going to try…but under the circumstances, I didn’t want to labor for days in pain and end up on the operating table anyway…so my plan for a natural childbirth went out the window, and I got the epidural.
The Epidural…let me tell you something about it. After laboring to almost 4cm without it, it really does feel like heaven once you do get it. But for me, heaven didn’t stick around long. I had to be re-dosed three times because it kept wearing off. And even during the moments when it was working, I still had back labor (baby was sunny-side-up) and the pressure of her head was exruciating. Later, after being stuck at 7cm for three hours, we determined that the pressure was due to her not being able to fit through my pelvis, and because my cervix was now swollen instead of being thinned out…a c-section was our new plan of action. Oh, and also? It was change of shift and a new doctor was on call, so DOCTOR NUMBER FOUR would be cutting my baby out!
Seriously…at that point, I wanted to cut her out myself, so Dr. Whatever Your Name Is was just fine with me.
I need to take a moment to tell you about my coach…while I know this man loves me, it is apparent that he is not cut out for labor coaching. He complained that his back hurt when I needed him to put pressure on my back during contractions. He complained that his hands hurt when I needed him to rub my back. He complained that he was tired and needed coffee. And then at 8am on Tuesday when it was time to go to the operating room, he was the grouchiest grouch I had ever met in my life. Now I wasn’t expecting that the universe would revolve around me just because I was giving birth, but I certainly didn’t expect that he would think that the universe should revolve around HIM! So not what I expected. But before they wheeled me into the OR, I told him to get his act together, I knew he was tired, but our daughter was about to be born and he needed to snap out of it!
And then…about ten minutes later, I heard him yell, “oh, Oh, OH!” and then I heard her beautiful cry. Tony was pacing around the operating room saying over and over again, “It’s ok! Daddy’s here!” He was DEFINITELY in a better mood. It seemed like forever before someone finally showed her to me, and even then I couldn’t really see her because they held her about a millimeter in front of my face, and I don’t know about you, but for me…objects need to be a normal distance away from my face in order for my eyes to focus on them. So, I just cried and cried as my daughter cried, and I just kept thinking to myself what a beautiful blurry blob they just pulled out of me!
Someone yelled out that she scored a ten on her APGAR tests (obviously, she’s a genius), and someone else weighed and measured her at NINE POUNDS, FIFTEEN OUNCES. Oh yes, she was a ten pound baby. No wonder she wouldn’t fit.
Eventually, they escorted Tony out, sewed me up, and FINALLY laid that piece of my soul that I had been carrying around for nine months on my chest and let me snuggle with her all the way to the recovery room. THAT was my moment. The moment I had waited for…the moment my life changed, and yet felt like it was just as it had always been. I held my daughter in my arms, and she held my heart in her hands…and I felt God smile on us both.