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Posts tagged ‘beginnings’

There she goes…

Today K is at daycare while I spend my last day of maternity leave being available and getting things done that are more challenging with an 11 week old hanging around.

I was hoping that yesterday (our last day off together) would be beautiful and relaxing.  It started out that way as we went on a walk with my mother around a nearby lake.  But before I knew it, my car was making funny noises.  Then it sounded like the muffler was going to fall off.  It was an easy fix (that took a chunk of time) and we were off to the store to buy enough bottles for daycare.  At the store, I managed to bang my head – HARD – into the roof of the car.  We had lunch and came home and within a few hours I was feeling really sick.  So I ended up doing what I could to keep K calm and entertained until C came home and then spent the rest of the night feeling pretty bad.  C and I ended up staying up until the early morning, preparing for today, relaxing, and talking, so that didn’t help.

This morning, K woke up around 5 and then again around 7:30.  I nursed her (and didn’t want to let her go), cuddled her (and didn’t want to let her go), and finally put her smiling self into the carseat.  We took two cars, since C had to go to work today, and we were off.

At daycare, which is in the home of our friend’s mother and a place we have spent significant time in the past, our friend’s three year old daughter was SUPER excited to see us.  She screamed our names and shared that she knew that K was coming to daycare today.  I was super nervous and emotional and allowed C to do much of the talking while I nursed the baby one last time before handing her off.  (Did I mention I seriously considered driving past daycare and into the sunset?  And that I considered running out of the house with my baby?)  Our niece made it easier – I tried to stay extra calm not only for the baby but also for her (and laughed when she thought she was going to come with us!).  When it was time to leave, we said goodbye and I walked as quickly as I could out of that house and to my car, where I started bawling.  C was there, suggested that we maybe get away from the house and continue the conversation, and mentioned she had a present for me.

So we drove a couple blocks away and she got into my car, bringing with her a beautiful charm bracelet.  It was a wonderful surprise, full of symbolism and meaning, and I felt again so lucky and grateful to have her in my life.  She also gave me money from her father, who had given it to her so that I might get my nails done today before returning to work.  I am hoping to do that this afternoon.

It feels like 11 weeks has passed and it doesn’t, all at the same time.  I was surprised this morning how normal it felt to get out of bed with an alarm, encourage the dog to go outside, and get myself ready for the day.  Obviously, today is a little different than any other day I will be having in the near future (it will be rare that I have a day off that doesn’t involve C or K), but we still went through the routine.  Regardless, it is hard for me to transition from such a special time to such a normal time.  My life is dramatically different in so many important ways and yet I will be fully reentering a world where things have likely been fairly status quo for the majority of people around me.  A piece of my heart will be miles away, smiling, interacting, and learning about the world, and I will be busy at work, fortunately at a job I care about, but still work nonetheless.

Overall, it is okay being at home, mostly because I have so much to do and it is a good break to get it done (I’ve already been grocery shopping, doing laundry, cleaning the kitchen, and cooking dinner for tonight, not to mention pumping).  I do think I will be able to manage it tomorrow if I can stay busy and focused.  But if anyone asks me about my baby – which most people are bound to do – I think I might fall apart.

It feels like the end of vacation and the end of such a singularly focused time.  K has taught me so much about being in the moment and loving the moment you are in and I hope I can take that with me into the next several weeks and beyond.

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One Month

One month ago today, Miss K came passionately into our lives.  And we will never be the same.

We have spent the past month joyfully, tiredly getting to know this little being with all of her likes and dislikes and personality.  We have celebrated each step we have taken: healthy birth, good check-up at the hospital, coming home, learning a “routine,” getting better at nursing, meeting family and friends.  We have celebrated weight gain and increased focus, the start of cooing and increased cuddling.  We have marveled that she is ours (and wondered aloud when her real parents would be coming to take her home).

We have looked at the past: the decisions and steps that got us here.  And we have looked at the future: anxiety about return to work, pumping, finding a “schedule” for a little person who needs to schedule herself; hope for health and holidays and passionate living.  We have also tried to stay present to her in the moment and to each other.

We have changed diapers, changed clothes (hers and ours), changed plans.  We have given baths to a creature who becomes incredibly stoic the second she gets submerged in the tub and incredibly sad when she is forced to leave her warm splashy place.  We have attended pediatrician appointments and support groups.  We’ve cuddled, snuggled, slept, stayed wide awake.  We’ve never wanted to let her go and prayed for just a little break.  We’ve worried when she’s not sleeping, worried when she is, worried in the midst of our own sleep in the form of strange dreams.

We are growing together as parents, as a couple.  We agreed early on to form a mutual admiration society and have used it often to praise the other for her hard and good work as a parent.  We are amazed and amazing and incredibly grateful for the time that we’ve had off together as a family, especially because we live in a country where such leave is only kind of guaranteed if you’ve been working long enough and if you can find a way to afford it.

She is nothing like we imagined.  She is everything we could have imagined.  She has changed our lives immeasurably, weaving herself into the fabric of our family, improving it and improving us.  We will never be the same.

A moment of emotion

The day K was born, my mother came to the hospital bearing a cold cut (one of the foods that I had given up and desperately missed) and a card.  The card has a picture of a newborn on it (with a cute knit hat) and says the following:

Outside:

Someday she’ll be a strong, confident woman… but you’ll always remember the first time you held her in your arms.

Inside:

Someday she’ll have her own hopes and dreams, not knowing that once upon a quiet time, you closed your eyes and dreamed to have her in your life.

I get teary every time I read it.  Every. Time.  It immediately takes me back to the day she was born, all of the thoughts and emotions.  And it also makes me think about how quickly she is already growing, how my job is to help her become the person she is meant to be.  It reminds me that the only control I had, oddly enough, was the “control” of choosing to try to have a baby.  Everything after that – TTC, pregnancy, birth, parenting – has had and will have some control and lots of illusion of control, but the goal is to move past wanting to control and to a place where relationship and guidance, along with the school of hard knocks, leads to K controlling her own life, hopefully in a way that is safe and healthy, even if it isn’t always agreeable with what her mama or I might want for her.

It also makes me realize that I am old enough to – and actually do – have a child and that time marches on into a future where the day she was born will be a distant joyful memory when all of the hopes and dreams of the world were possibilities for this new little being.

 

Me, Myself

Tonight I went and picked up a pizza for us (since it rained right as we were going to grill / we were both tired / I hate paying delivery fees).

On the way home (a whole five minute drive), I absentmindedly put my hand on my stomach.  And, although I’m almost three weeks postpartum, felt a jolt of separation from both the baby and myself as a pregnant woman.

And instead of the sadness I felt immediately postpartum, I instead felt more like my pre-pregnancy self.  And there was little in the way of value judgement that went along with it; just a strange feeling of being connected to a little being at home that I used to be connected to much more intimately… and at the same time a strange feeling of being very separated.  After recognizing the change, part of me felt lonely and part of me felt liberated.  I was glad for both; the loneliness because it signals my connection to my wife and daughter, the liberation because it reassures me that  even in the separation, there is a part of me that is glad to be just me, myself.

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Nervous

Off to the midwife appointment in a little bit and I have to say, I’m quite nervous. Nervous to meet new practitioners, nervous that I might not like them, nervous because the world of prenatal care is so vast and even with recommendations it seems like it’s pretty much a crapshoot.

The practice we are going to today has at least three midwives. We will not work with any one midwife more than the others, ideally, as they rotate your appointment so that you see all of them over the course of your pregnancy because any one of them could be on call the day of your delivery.

Although I do not want a super medicalized birth, I am realizing that it might be hard for me to not have a medicalized pregnancy. I may be bizarre, but I have had many good experiences with doctors and I generally don’t mind medical intervention. That being said, I do not want to head down the surgery route at delivery and my chances are far less with a midwife than with an OB where I live (the midwife practice has a section rate of 13%).  It is going to be hard for me to not have tons more ultrasounds and invasive investigation into what is going on because I so desperately want to know that everything is going well ALL. THE. TIME.

That being said, I really do want a more personalized experience and I think if there is anyone who is going to give it to me, it will be the midwives. I am, however, already missing having just my one RE who was present for everything (every meeting, every appointment, even my HSG) and I realize that I was incredibly spoiled in that regard.

Really, I’m just afraid of the unknown. I think that so much of giving birth (and pregnancy in general) is hindsight being 20/20 and there are so many things I won’t know until I’ve experienced them regardless of any other experience that others have had. I also have to remind myself that one visit to one provider does not mean that I have to stay with that provider out of some false sense of loyalty or oh-they-spent-time-with-me-I-feel-bad-for-leaving.

Outside of the nerves, I am excited and hopeful that we get confirmation that things are swimming along nicely. I took off today so that C and I can enjoy the day together and following the appointment we are going to go clothes shopping because my (super form fitting) clothes just aren’t cutting it anymore.

Looking Back

A year ago, looking ahead to 2011, we had so many plans, my wife and I. We had scheduled appointments with our PCP, hoped that she would offer us recommendations for a doctor to get one of us (likely me) pregnant, and wanted to begin trying in March. I started temping at the end of December and joined FF to keep track of every cycle. While I blathered on about worries and concerns, I hoped (and partially believed) that I would get pregnant quickly and that we might even have a baby by Christmas. While 2010 was a year of enjoyment and relaxation in many ways, 2011 felt, from the very beginning, like a year of preparation and movement.

And it was, but not the way we originally planned. Life got in the way and there were the thyroid issues with the forced wait, the trip to the endocrinologist to make sure I didn’t have any other hormonal issues, the trip to Hawaii that (happily) kept us from trying a bit sooner than we did, the two tries that did not work out, the month break complete with HSG, the blood work that seemed more ominous than it was, and finally the try that did it.

Despite some of the frustrations along the way, I am happy (and fortunate) to say that 2011 was a good year overall.  As I mentioned in my Thanksgiving post, I am grateful to all the various folks who were supports this year, from doctors to family members to friends… and of course, to everyone out there blogging and commenting. It has been tremendous to be able to relate to, learn from, garner advice from, and hope with all of you this year. May 2012 be a year of many good things for you and your families!