Thursday, October 27, 2011

1 Month

My baby girl is one month old. I simply can't believe how time has flown, while it still feels like she's been a part of our lives forever. Motherhood is incredible, and exhausting, and frustrating, and one of the most wonderful things ever.

Being a nurse, it's tempting to go by the milestone charts and worry about what we've not achieved yet. I then console myself by saying she's actually only three weeks past her full gestational age, so she's not supposed to have achieved all that yet. What I need to remember, though, is eventually she'll get it all. She'll track, and recognize our voices, and smile, and roll over, and walk, and learn to read, and get a job... and I'll wish I could have this time back. I'll wish for the day when I felt like all I did for five straight hours was heat bottles and feed. I'll wish I could work on the computer while balancing a sleeping infant on my lap. There's nothing like picking up said screaming infant and the screams instantly stopping.

To come: pregnancy and first four weeks essentials, and a critique of a recent article in Faith for all of Life. (yes, I'm posting my blogging to-do list)

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Sunday morning

I grew up in a home where church was mandatory. You had to be really sick to not attend; a cold was usually not justification for staying at home. I attended a college where church was also mandatory, skips were monitored, and missing too many services meant listening to sermons on CD, supervised by your RA.

So for me, missing two months of church is odd. Granted, I did work every other Sunday for over two years, which is partly the reason I'm okay with not attending church for now. The other reason is that it is likely many other families have the "a cold is not justification for missing church" attitude. I figure we'll be sick often enough once we start day care, so why share germs earlier than necessary?

I do know that missing church is not good for me spiritually. I lose focus easily, and a weekly reminder of truth is helpful. Thankfully, the internet gives access to thousands of churches, so Ladybug and I have our own "church time" while the Guardian saves our spot in the pew. I chose to return to one of our favorite churches, Grace Pres in Cookeville. My only wish is that they would put the entire service online; I really miss their singing!

Now for some advantages of online church.
  • You're never late.
  • No one ever sits in your pew, except the dog, who can be pushed out of it.
  • You don't miss any points if you have to use the restroom; that's what pause is for.
  • You can wear your pj's.
  • You can breastfeed or pump without being discreet.
  • Your screaming child disturbs no one. That's what the volume is for.
  • When a poop blowout occurs, you can use the handy pause button again.
  • When your coffee gets cold, yep... love that pause button!
  • When you have a mommy-brain moment and can't for the life of you find Psalms... pause button to the rescue!

Friday, October 21, 2011


So here is the latest lesson in parenting I've learned: I don't know what I'm doing. It's not very reassuring to realize this when you have a three week old, it's 3am, and you've still not gone to sleep. I've had a few moments of "when is this child's mom going to come get her and fix everything? Oh yeah... that would be me. Crud."

I've been relatively isolated from the debates regarding child rearing, thankfully. However, I know if I'm not careful I'll get drawn into them. I'm one of those people that likes step by step guides. I like instruction manuals. And this kid didn't come with one. There's no handy little "when I sound/look like this, it means feed/change/burp me." There's no troubleshooting flowchart. There's no "if your model is dysfunctional, call 1-800 for repair or replacement."

I'm all for reading the Bible, but let me tell you, I'd be reading it a lot more right now if it told me how to get my child to go to sleep at 10pm instead of 4am. Or if it told me how to balance pumping with life. Or if it gave me a chart for "this age child should be allowed to scream for this long before rushing to her aid."

There are a ton of parenting books out there, I guess for people like me who want someone else to tell them what to do. But, if parenting is like the rest of life, that doesn't work. Trust me, I'd love for someone else to tell me exactly how to handle many situations in my life. I've tried to get people to do that. I've asked counseling services, trusted adults, church leaders over the years what I'm supposed to do. And no one can tell me exactly how I need to live my life. They can give broad principles, but it's up to me to apply them. The few times I have received specific advice, I've usually regretted taking it.

So I'm going to skim a few books and try out a few methods. But I'm going to try to remember that our family and child is unique and isn't going to adhere to a neat flowchart.

And the law of non-contradiction does not apply to infants.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Thoughts after 19 days

I've been pain med free for over ten days, had a good nap this afternoon, and just returned from a long walk. Therefore, my brain actually feels up to writing something halfway coherent!

I haven't decided how much detail I'll be putting on this blog, nor what my theme will be. For now, the little baby currently asleep in the carrier on my chest will be known as Ladybug, and the other half of the reason she exists will be called the Guardian. The littlest dog will be Defective Dog, and the bigger one will be Tub'oLard.

For today, I think a random list of thoughts/lessons from the last three weeks will suffice.

  • C-sections are awesome. Spinals with additional morphine are even more awesome, and worth the insane itching that follows.
  • Ladybug's first cry was one of the most incredible moments of my life, surpassed possibly only by the Guardian's proposal, and maybe our first kiss and our wedding kiss (two separate kisses)
  • Little girl diaper changes can be about as exciting as boy's; amazing how far poop can be squirted!
  • Showers are wonderful sanity savers.
  • Babies are black holes of time. You blink and it's 2pm, you've not had a shower or eaten breakfast, but you're on your 10th diaper and 4th bottle.
  • Pumping is not as simple as slapping the things on your boobs and turning it on.
  • Despite the recent article dispersed to my church, I firmly believe I love my child just as much as the mother who went through a vaginal birth. I did not need the natural hormonal rush, nor did I need the hormones in the IV, to make me love my child. That article will probably be given its own post later.
  • Some babies like baths. Mine does, and she also likes back rubs and having her hair brushed.
  • My daughter is her daddy's girl. She is a natural evening shifter...
  • The swelling does eventually go away. The tears slow as well. The fat and stretch marks... well... those are sticking around a bit longer.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Still alive and human... I think

There is a distinction I never made before. There is human, and there is mommy. And mommy's do not always feel human. We sometimes feel like some sort of zombie, with strange marks and fat rolls that previously didn't exist, emotions that take roller coaster rides, and brains that simply cannot remember that 2+2=4. My days consist of pump, feed, change. Pump, feed, change. Try to fit some sleep in there somewhere. And then do it all over again.

The lack of eye contact from a newborn only confirms the feeling of non-humanness... it's as if she looks right past me, as if I don't exist, despite her complete dependency on me to feed, change, burp, clothe, and comfort her. I'm told this will get better once she becomes interactive again.

There are moments, though, when you see the good side of being a mommy. The 2am change when I look at the child who just exploded poop into the clean diaper I just put on her, and I'm amazed at how much I love this little poop-making machine. The rare moments in breastfeeding when things are actually working like they're supposed to (with the help of a plastic nipple... now that thing is weird) and she wraps her little hand around my finger.

So I'll plod along; I think survival at this point is a worthy goal.