Slow to process and picture post

I keep starting posts and stopping them when the words don’t come out right.  There don’t seem to be the right words to be able to express what I’m feeling.  There is now this entirely separate person here and I’m responsible for their every care.

Bath time with our Blooming Bath :)

Its unbelievable and humbling.  Its more work than I ever thought I’d be able to joyfully do in a single day, compounded every day for the foreseeable future.  I’ve cried less than I thought I would and I’m amazed my postpartum hormones are so level and keeping me sane.  I never knew it was possible to not sleep more than 4 hours in a row for such an extended period of time (and I hear I’m lucky!).

“Daddy time” is his favorite part of the day

I’m amazed we were trusted with this task.  I’m amazed my body is helping to sustain this little guy.  I feel like I’ve been so slow to process this miracle, from the pregnancy to the birth to the day to day life with this little guy, and all my posts echo the same “I can’t believe this is real” feeling, but it really seems too incredible to have actually gone right for this to be our reality.

It sounds strange, but I didn’t recognize him when he came out.  This was my son?  I had dreamed about our child for so long but I had no idea who he’d be.  He was just an idea.  Except, now he’s not…he’s an actual breathing, burping, pooping, cooing, almost smiling entirely separate person that looks at me with this innocent eyes and says,

Here we go!  Our adventure is just beginning!  What will we do today?

Wow.  Just, wow!

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Since the birth

I realized today when my husband and I went out to lunch after Sam’s hearing test that I had no concept of time.  Its almost the end of May!  Already I feel like I’m measuring time in how old he is (weeks, months, etc.) since that was such a pivotal change for us.  I picked up a coupon that expired 5/15/12 today and stared at it for a few minutes trying to figure out if it was still good!  Time hasn’t moved this quickly/strangely in many years and its nice to have such a distraction to not care about what day it is.  So, hence the title of this post!

So some good news and updates first, Samuel can hear!  I love that we needed a test to tell us that since at this point we’d pretty much figured that one out since he reacts to my voice, so maybe it would have been more useful during those first few days of life but, oh well.  In other Sam news, he’s growing in all directions well and I think he’s at least 9.5 lbs and was 95% on height at his two week appointment.  He really likes lifting his head and moving it from side to side, so he has a lot of fun with tummy time already.  His eyes still look blueish and I can get glimpses of his dimples when he smiles after he farts :)  No intentional smiles yet but I’m hoping for some soon!  He gets really cranky when he has gas though and will almost scream until he audibly fills up his diaper.  Poor guy, there’s nothing we can do to help him either :(  Other than that he has a content personality so if he’s crying he likely has gas.  Narrows it down quite a bit and when he’s calm he’ll just stare outside or at random points in the room.  I really wonder what’s going through his baby brain…

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We ran into our doctor on the way out of the hospital today and she was really excited to see us and meet him.  She was so supportive of our home birth that it was really great to see her excited about meeting him as well.  We’re only doing the 6 week follow up with the midwife (as opposed to doubling up like we did for almost every other appointment during the pregnancy) since I’m pretty sure the doctor visit is just to prescribe birth control and it will be hard to get a sitter for Sam for me to go to that.  Its nice to have such a great relationship with her though that I know I can go to her if I have any other issues!

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My healing is going well, in case any one is interested.  As crazy as I felt after the birth I would never have thought I would feel as good as I did a week later.  Its amazing to realize that despite all evidence contrary and what it took to get pregnant, our bodies are made for birth and to heal from birth.  This has been one of the most reassuring things, that I don’t have control over it but my body finally knows what to do.  At now almost 4 weeks later I can go on walks around the neighborhood and more, although I’m taking it easy right now since I think I have a plugged milk duct and am making sure it doesn’t go to infection (looks good so far).  Anyways, our bodies are amazing and continue to surprise me.  I guess its time I give it credit after bashing it for the last few years :( 

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Someone in the family sent me a congratulatory card yesterday with good intentions I’m sure, but with a line that upset me so much I can’t believe someone in our family would write it!  Ok, maybe I can believe it a little bit. 

I love Samuel.  I know he’s the baby we were supposed to get precisely because he’s the baby that came to us when God wanted him too.  I didn’t care if he was a boy or a girl and was excited about both possibilities, although part of me was a teensy bit more excited at the thought of his family gaining another girl :)  My husband’s family can have a little, well machismo if that’s what you call it. Maybe sexist is the more appropriate but less diplomatic way of putting it.

For the longest time no one in his family could remember that in addition to Mike, I was also getting my PhD.  I seriously think that when they came in for our graduation they thought I was getting a Master’s.  For the several years while we were dating/married they would repeatedly ask me what it was that I did.  (I’m in grad school too!).  A few months after graduation when we were looking at pictures, Mike’s mom was bragging to her friends that Mike wrote “a whole book” for his degree and “Alison, can you believe he wrote a whole book?” (the thesis, not an actual book)  Um, yes I can believe it because I wrote one also.  Not only that but I actually wrote two!  Ok, I promise that’s not me being a brat, but its like it just continuously escaped them that girls could do that sort of thing also.  I have other example scenarios but I’ll just stop at those to not complain too much :)

Anyway, so in the card read the handwritten line: “Congrats on your baby and a boy on the first try! Very lucky”  Really?  So many things wrong with that sentence, probably “first try” bugged me the most.  Oh honey that was NOT our “first try”. And I’m sure the odds are about 50% so why is that lucky?  Please, be more clear.  Maybe its all the Henry the VIIIth going through my head but that seems like a very antiquated view that OK, maybe I can see people answering some awkward questions in the spur of the moment, but to put thought into it enough to put it in a card and then send it to us?

I guess I should just be happy the our baby was acknowledged.  But seriously, the next person who says something like that to me is going to get an earful!

 

Ok, those are enough random thoughts for now :)

After the birth

I realized in writing my last post that in stopping when Sam was born I left out more of the story, i.e. everything that happened after his birth!, so here’s the rest.

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I mentioned that Sam’s cord was short, so he could only be placed on my belly after the birth.  He stayed there until the cord stopped pulsing and I could deliver the placenta.  I’m not sure exactly how much time passed but I think it was somewhere around 30 minutes.  Samuel was really chill and just looked around while he was there.  He didn’t really cry that much and was very alert.

Sometime right after the birth the student midwife showed up to help with the after birth care.  I’m not sure if it was just too early for her to make it to the birth or what but I think she literally walked in when he was on my belly still.  Soon the placenta was delivered and I almost didn’t feel it it was so easy.  At that point Mike got to cut the cord after the midwives clamped it.  They began to massage my stomach a little to make sure they got all the clots and extra blood out.  It was actually pretty painful but I could look at my baby so it was a little more bearable.  It was incredible to realize that this baby had actually been inside there that whole time!

After this I tried to breastfeed before Kelly “assessed the damage.”  Breastfeeding went pretty well and he had a really strong latch with a little assistance from the beginning.  I’m really glad he knew what he was doing because I really didn’t have a clue and I really felt like an imposter trying to feed this child!  Luckily the midwives were able to direct and give me some tips, then and over the next few days/weeks.  I was also holding him close to keep him warm.  At this point my mother in law was texting and asking how much he weighed, etc. but we hadn’t done any of that yet.  That was literally the last thing they did!

So after feeding him for a bit and generally just getting to hold him closer to me in my arms, I gave him to Mike for some bonding while I was stitched up.  I’m not exactly sure what the damage was but I know it couldn’t have been that bad since the more veteran midwife who is certified to repair third degree tears was not the one stitching me up. I did have multiple tears though.  I pretty much had no desire to look either, which I admit was rare for me.  Usually I love watching the surgery channel :) They gave me a local anesthetic and my mom fed me breakfast while I watched Mike hold Sam.  This seemed to take a while but they literally did this right on my bed where I gave birth and then I was able to swing back and lay down propped up a little.

I’ll go into this more later but they also changed my sheets during this time, so everything was nice and clean.  Ok, so although they were recording all the times of the pushes and documenting the fetal heart rate during the birth process, this is finally where they weighed and measured him, which is probably what he disliked the most.  It was literally like they took him away from me and he started crying.

Weighing him like a stork

He calmed down once he found his fingers to suck on again :)

Someone also helped me to the bathroom in here.  Our bathroom is less than 7 steps away from our bedroom and I was shocked at how out of breath I was.  It was like there was a giant weight on my chest that was preventing me from standing up and breathing at the same time.  I was pretty shocked by how exhausted I was physically after all that, but that was easily the most difficult thing physically I’ve done in my life.  I had that pressure on my chest for the first 2 or 3 days after birth anytime I stood up before it started to go away, so I pretty much just stayed in my bed that whole time apart from getting up to use the rest room.

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I wish I had more eloquent words to describe how I felt and how I’m feeling now.  I do know that right after I had him I said a couple things to my husband and was definitely amazed that people have multiple children. I’m pretty sure that as a result of our sub-fertility I really spent little to no time thinking about the actual demanding part of labor because I knew “it would all be worth it”, and for that I am extremely grateful!  Great rewards demand great sacrifices and the strangest  part about it was that it really was like a roller coaster that there was no getting off, no pause button to catch your breath and get through.  As incredible as the birth process was and what a privilege it was to hold him so close to me for 9 months, it really is after the birth that’s the biggest miracle and what matters most.   THAT’S the beginning.  I’m really glad we were able to have a birth with no interventions, but I’m even more excited to get to learn and grow with this little soul.  That’s what mothering is and I’m amazed I get the chance to do it, and that this little grunty guy finally came to give me this opportunity!