Sunday, February 20, 2011

1 Month

So, I just finished reading the book "it sucked and then i cried" by Heather Armstrong (she also has a website:, for anyone interested). I highly recommend it for anyone who has ever had a baby, post-partum depression, or just wants a read that will alternately make you laugh and cry. Anyway, I loved it (making fun of Mormons aside). Something the author does, though, is write a letter to her baby every month. This is something I'm going to try and do for the Sharkbaby. I'll be out of town and away from the internet for his actual 1 month on Thursday, so I'm going to post it now.

Dear Sharkbaby,
Wow, one whole month old, already! What a month it has been, too. As I write this you are crashed out in your daddy's lap. This is a good thing, since earlier this week I couldn't get you to sleep during the day at all.
I don't ever want to lie to you, so I'm going to be completely honest and tell you that for the first few weeks I wasn't sure about you. We had a bit of a hard time getting to know each other. We just couldn't seem to figure each other out. There were times when I thought about sending you away to live at Pops and Nana's house. Then came the shift. I'll get to that in just a minute.
You see, kiddo, your mom has a disease called post-partum depression. That means, for whatever reason, when her body is trying to get normal after having a baby she gets sad. It has nothing to do with you, but it makes life kind of difficult sometimes. Add to that us not quite being able to figure each other out, and it made for some interesting times. We were both pretty stressed out for a little while, especially when it came to the whole eating thing. I could never be sure you were getting enough, but you never cried for more. Anyway, I was nervous about things so I took you into the doctor's office and had you weighed. As it turns out, you were losing weight... not a good thing. You were what Dr. Art (you'll love him!) called a "hibernator". That means instead of crying to tell me that you needed more food you would just go to sleep. So we stopped breastfeeding and switched to formula. I think it was the best decision we've ever made for you.
I am so happy that I get to see your little personality grow everyday. You are such a content and, for the most part, happy baby. You love music, noise, and being around people. For the first little while we didn't get much sleep. I left you for the night with Nana and Aunt Maddie one night last week, and I'll be honest, I cried a little when I came home. I couldn't believe I was leaving my baby with someone else overnight. I put you in your crib last night for your first night on your own. You did pretty well with it. We'll keep trying and see how things go from here.
Anyway, my sweet baby boy, know that your mom loves you very much. I'm so excited to see you grow and change everyday.
Love, Mommy

Thursday, February 10, 2011

I am not a failure

Sometimes life doesn't go according to plan. I've mentioned on this blog before how I like plans. I like to know what's coming, I like to have lists made of things I need to get done. I like schedules. I crave structure. Anyway, back to the point:

I had a plan. A birth plan, in fact. I was going to go into labor without medical assistance. I was going to woman up and muscle through my contractions. I was going to deliver a healthy baby without the aid of medications. I was going (gasp) natural.

Well, none of that happened. I was induced. I received cytotec and pitocin to get my labor going. I muscled through my contractions for about 2 hours before I was begging for an epidural. My plan was shot from almost the word "go".

But I am not a failure. I still have a healthy, happy baby.

And then there were the other plans: I was going to bond instantly with my child. I was going to feel a love like nothing I'd ever felt before. I was going to breastfeed him for a whole year. I wasn't going to cry when he kept me up in the night.

Well, let me tell you all a little secret that no one ever shares: sometimes you don't bond instantly. Sometimes you feel like you're holding, caring for, feeding, and changing someone else's baby. You feel like you're waiting for his real mom to come pick him up. But she never comes. So you muddle through, feeling like you're not doing anything right. You don't necessarily love them right away. You worry about their welfare, you think about them constantly, and you kind of like them a little... but sometimes bonding takes time.

And breastfeeding. Oh man, breastfeeding. It's hard. And it hurts. And sometimes your baby is a hibernater and won't tell you that he's not getting enough food. So you stop. Cold turkey... and guess what: your baby thrives on formula. And every time you feed him a bottle and look into his big baby eyes you fall in love with him a little bit more.

And one day you realize that if anybody ever tried to take him away from you they wouldn't live to see another day. Because you love that little guy with everything you have. And you can't imagine your life without him.

So, if any of that makes me a failure I guess I can live with that. Because I have a healthy, happy baby that I love more than anything else in the world.



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