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Tag Archives: newborn

Infertile Parenting 101 (Month 1)

9 Oct

(Bla bla I haven’t posted in a while. Bla bla stuff about babies being hard. Bla bla more rambling about the future direction of the blog, followed by the statement that I will just be winging it and a promise not to abandon it. Bla bla, apologies to those still in the trenches, with an understanding that they don’t have to keep following if they don’t want to. Bla bla bla.)

So being a parent after 3.5 years of longing for a living, healthy baby is kind of a surreal experience. Since I’ve been doing it for almost 5 weeks now  (which obviously makes me a pro, right?) I thought I’d share with you some pearls of wisdom. Because let’s face it – though parenting is similar for everyone, parenting after infertility and loss comes with its own set of challenges and revelations. I’ve labelled this post “Month 1” because this may become a regular monthly thing. Then again, it may not. Because lesson 1: If you have a newborn, you really shouldn’t make promises. Lesson 2: If you have a newborn, you will find yourself typing out cliches like the one you just read.

So here we go:

  • You will most likely not break your baby. It’s kind of hard to believe, but once they’re out in the world, they become fairly durable. So chances are if you, say, accidentally bump their head on the corner of your laptop while you’re typing up a blog post (this is a purely hypothetical scenario of course), then you will most likely not cause any brain damage. And no, the fact that they keep sleeping because they barely felt the bump anyway does not mean that even more serious damage has been done than you initially suspected. Babies sleep, and they don’t really care if their head occasionally grazes a laptop corner (hypothetically, of course).
  • You will wish your baby had one of those collars like the dogs had in “Up.”  Babies can’t talk. That becomes incredibly frustrating at times because you really want to know what they want/what they need/what hurts/etc. Therefore you may spend your very rare spare moments fantasizing about acquiring a fictional collar from an animated film.

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  • You will realize that constantly making sure that he/she is still breathing while they are asleep is impractical. Eventually you will understand that you need sleep, and that chances are that your baby will keep breathing even when you’re not looking. And the worst-case-scenario: You have that high tech monitor you spent way too much money on to alert you if something goes awry, FSM forbid.
  • You will apparently never be able to post cynical things on Face.book ever again. If some of your FB friends are even remotely aware of your struggles, their unbridled “I’m so happy for you!” sentiments will be the rainy cloud over any of your attempts to be a cynic about your newfound status as a parent. So if you post a status asking people to ban you from their feeds if you discuss your child’s digestive habits publicly, you will get very few lols and lots of “you do whatever you want! You deserve it! Yay you!”s. And though you will appreciate the sentiments, there will be a small part of you that will quietly wish that they would just appreciate your cynicism and lingering bitterness and no longer single you out as being different. Though another part of you does think that yes, you are different, and how awesome is it that everyone is celebrating? This scenario is purely hypothetical, of course.
  • You will walk into baby stores and actually enjoy shopping there. You may as well get used to it. The places you spent so much time and energy avoiding all those years will now be taking all of your money.
  • You will see other people with babies and smile at them rather than avoid their gaze. At first this will surprise and even anger you. Then you will get over it.
  • You will find yourself doing all the annoying things you’d never thought you’d do.  Shamelessly showing pictures of your baby to total strangers? Check. Discussing their bowel movements and other digestive habits with anyone willing to listen and some who would really rather not? Check. Dressing the baby up in adorable outfits with “gender appropriate” color schemes? Check. Being all “Wait until you have kids and then you’ll know what tired is” to people, even if you only think it and don’t say it out loud? Check.
  • You will find yourself parenting via google. And most of your search queries will be somehow linked to either eating or poop.ing. Because you don’t have one of those handy collars from “Up” so you read your baby’s digestive system as if it was a pack of tarot cards.
  • You will have an app for recording your baby’s bodily functions. And you will use it. All the time. See above.
  • You will feel guilty. A lot. Did you wait too long too feed them? Did you not wait long enough? Why aren’t they gaining more weight? Are you giving them enough stimulation? Is it ok that you’re watching “Top Chef” while you’re feeding them? Is leaving them for 5 hours to run errands and get a manicure evidence that you are a horrible mother? The last two scenarios are purely hypothetical, of course.
  • You will feel pressure to constantly be happy now that you’ve achieved what you’ve wished for. Whether that pressure is self-inflicted or external, it will be there. And I have no words of wisdom to make that feeling go away. Just make sure you’re taking care of yourself.
  • You will not be constantly happy. And that’s ok. There is a whole new person that’s invaded your life. And they’re not really a whole person yet. They don’t make eye contact, they only smile when they’re gassy, and all they do is eat, sleep, poo, pee, and cry. Taking care of this whole new person is hard. And sometimes you have a hard time grasping that this person is yours. And sometimes you’ve barely slept and they’ve been fussy and you just want to cry because you don’t know how to make things better, and you really just want to sleep for longer than three hours at a time. Apparently, it’s normal to not be overjoyed 24-7. You can be tired. And frustrated. And anxious (OMG so anxious). And yes, even sad sometimes. Really and truly – it’s ok. And taking care of yourself during those times is ok too. (I need to remind myself of all of this constantly, and you should too).
  • You will still feel like you’re different.  Your past losses, frustrations, and traumas will not magically go away. They will get a different perspective, yes. They will change color and tone. They will morph into something different. But they will still be there. There will still be moments that you remember and cry. You will see that a friend of yours, who was married a year and a half after you, is already pregnant with or raising baby number 2. And it will sting, because deep down inside, you will know that though most of the world thinks your baby is “baby number 1”, it’s not. It’s number 5 of 5 pregnancies. Or the second baby you physically gave birth to. Or the 9th embryo transferred. Or the first successful cycle after 25 failed ones. Or the 3rd time a birth parent chose you. Your losses are still your losses. And it could be that no one understands that except you. Don’t bother explaining it. Let them celebrate your “first”. You celebrate your strength to make it through and bring this baby home. And I’ll say it again: Always, ALWAYS remember to take care of yourself.
  • You will find yourself doing things you never thought you’d be capable of doing. Like organizing the baby’s room, doing a load of her laundry and folding it and putting it away. Or washing bottles. Or tidying up the living room. All while a baby is strapped to you in a Moby (that you magically figured out how to use). And you never did these things before. Ever. You would leave your clean clothes in a separate hamper that the cleaning lady would fold when she came every two weeks, and then you would still keep those folded clothes on the guest bed and not bother putting them in a closet. You would leave things in piles everywhere. Now you’re all – ORGANIZE ALL THE THINGS! And even though you still suck at it, you’re making an effort. Which is just plain crazy. These scenarios are purely hypothetical, of course.
  • Nobody is coming to take your baby away from you. Chances are that because of the time you’ve spent wanting to have a baby, and because of how hard you’ve worked at it, you’re pretty much as emotionally ready to be a parent as anyone can really be. Which means that you’re most likely a pretty decent parent and no one will come and take away your baby. You will find yourself standing in line in a department store, holding a pair of swaddle blankets, and swaying your hips back and forth. Then you will realize that your baby isn’t currently strapped to you, and is in fact back at home with her grandmother. But she has become such an integral part of your life that you instinctively rock her, even when she’s not physically there. And then, for a moment, you truly get that she’s yours to keep, and what a fucking miracle that truly is.

That’s a purely hypothetical scenario, of course.

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Two Weeks as a Parent: Some Stuff I Learned

20 Sep
  • For the anxious mom, formula feeding is awesome. It’s amazing how much peace of mind you have when you know exactly how much your baby has eaten.
  • There is no such thing as ‘casual pumping’ either you pump like a madwoman, or you don’t. A few days in and my supply has pretty much dwindled. Lucky I’m loving the formula. No guilt left, and the major upside: I finally get my blessed Xan.ax back. Sweet relief.
  • Another upside of quitting breastfeeding: We have introduced the pacifier. Or as I like to call it: The magic crying cork.
  • You become obsessed with bodily functions. Bunny had a bout of gas and was having trouble pooping. When she finally did go, there was audible cheering in the Shmerson household.
  • It’s hard, but not that hard. I find myself with endless wells of patience for her. Things may be challenging sometimes, but at the end of the day, it’s for her, so it makes it ok.
  • Nothing grosses you out any more. I’ve been pooped on, peed on, and spat up on. It’s all good.
  • “Lots of sleep” is a relative term. These days a three hour stretch leaves me downright refreshed.
  • It doesn’t really sink in. Sometimes I look away for a few moments when Shmerson is with her, and forget that I have a baby. I look back and it hits me for a moment, then becomes incomprehensible once again. People say her name, and it takes a while to hit. Right. They’re talking about my daughter. Then my head explodes, and I go back into a quiet state of non-comprehension once again.
  • You will never care for anyone more. When I think she’s in pain, I hurt like I never would for myself.  I was told this would happen, I just didn’t grasp how deep the feeling truly is.
  • The cliches are true. Like – all of them. There were a few I never used to buy. “I’m excited to see them grow up and discover the world”.  That one always sounded weird to me. Or “cherish every moment”. But it’s so true. Every day she is becoming more of a little person, and it’s thrilling. I’m cherishing every moment, and at the same time I know this baby girl is going to grow up to be a total rock star, and I can’t wait to see that happen. It’s really rather amazing.
  • The joy is pure and unbridled. About once a day, sometimes twice, it dawns on me. She is here. She is mine. I could be singing her a song, or watching Shmerson hold her or play her some music. Or seeing her grandma melt when she has her in her arms. And it hits me. And I cry and cry and cry. Tears of pure joy like I have never felt before in my life. This is what love is.

 

bunny

A Break Up Letter

17 Sep

Dear Bo.obs,

I’m sorry, but the Bunny and I have to break up with you, though we hope we can remain friends. It’s not that you’re not perfectly nice – because you are. You’re great boo.bs. But you’re not making enough milk for Bunny, and I don’t have the strength, patience, or time to coax you into trying to make more. Plus – while you were being lazy, Bunny got used to getting fed from a bottle and she doesn’t like latching on to you guys any more. I don’t know if you noticed – but she hasn’t latched on in three days. And you know as well as I do how hard we’ve been trying. We even brought in another Lactation Consultant and her help didn’t make a difference, as good as she was. Frankly, I don’t think there’s any going back at this point. So it’s really time to move on to milkier pastures.

It’s not that I don’t plan on keeping in touch. We definitely should. If you don’t mind, I’d like to pump you guys about 3 times a day so that Bunny can get the benefits of as much milk as you can muster, without me being a slave to the pump. A mom’s gotta keep her sanity after all, and there’s only so many hours of mooing and milking I can stand a day. I hope you don’t take that personally, and give me what you can. I promise to ask nicely, and to only use the fancy electric pump I just rented, because you deserve the best.

So fare thee well my dear boo.bies. I hope there are no hard feelings. The Bunny and I will keep in touch.

Sincerely,

Mo and the Bunny (Though she can’t read, write, talk, or convey complex ideas just yet, I assure you she shares my sentiments completely.)

 

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Thank you all for your advice and words of encouragement on my last post. I think what I really needed was “permission” to let it go, and so many of you gave me that, which made me feel better and allowed me to be more forgiving of myself. I hope I continue to make peace with this decision. I truly think it’s the best one for my sanity, and therefore, for Bunny’s well being. To quote what so many of you said in the comments: I am feeding with love, and that’s the most important thing. Now I just hope I can continue to remember that and not feel too much guilt about this. I think it just wasn’t meant to be. If there will ever be a Bunny 2.0, I’ll take the lessons I learned this time and try again. But for now, we move on.

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