Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Happy Birthday Baby Boy

Dear LF,
Today is your first birthday and KG and I are in total disbelief that you have gotten so big, so fast. The cliche about time standing still and speeding by simultaneously is absolutely true. We've watched you start to turn into a determined, funny, smart, and independent little boy right before our eyes. I can't properly articulate how deeply I love you. It is a part of my heart I never knew existed. Even on your toughest days, I just want to hold you close and get down on my knees with thanks that you exist - that we were able to make you and bring you into the world. I know you will someday hate having to share your birthday with Christmas, but you just couldn't wait one more minute to join the party. I could list all your new tricks one by one, but the only trick that matters is that you are here: a smiling, giggling, sometimes whining, sometimes yelling, but always individual perfect little being.

I love you - so, so much. Happy Birthday.


Saturday, November 16, 2013

A test

It's been a while.

I've been craving this space. Needing to talk. Needing to discuss. Needing to vent at times.

I've made no time to blog since returning to work in September. There's always something else to do in any free moment I have. Grading papers. Doing errands. Being a mom, wife, daughter...

But today, I'm making time.

Today, I have to get this out: I feel like I'm failing.

Being LF's mother is incredible and wonderful, and all of those things. It is also, like any other parent would say, a challenge. A test. A test that I don't always pass.

LF is funny, engaging, smart, and adorable. He is also stubborn, opinionated, and unpredictable. He can be smiles and giggles in one moment, and turn on a dime the next. He puts his arms up to be held, and then instantly wriggles and makes his escape. He sits in the highchair, takes a few bites of a favorite food, then swipes everything to the floor and refuses to eat. Then, there are the screams. The whines and the screams.

In those moments, my frustration bubbles over quickly. I feel myself getting upset. I take deep breaths, walk away, all the things you are supposed to do...but it comes down to me being mad at a baby for not cooperating. Seriously? Who expects a baby to cooperate? Me.

That seems ridiculous.

I feel like other mothers know what to do. Other mothers have perspective. Other mothers have understanding and patience. I just end up cursing myself for not being able to soothe him, the way a good mom should. Sometimes KG takes over, and sometimes the moment passes, we switch activities, and all is well again. But, the situation ends up stressful for all of us.

It isn't every day. I could write a million blog posts about all of the pleasant days we have together. But it is enough days that I'm thinking it is something for me to focus on changing about myself.

How do other moms do it? 

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Another summer come and gone

I go back to work in less than a week. Less than a week. How did that happen?

Some consider my summer break (which is NOT 3 months long as critics like to assume) a perk of teaching. I don't consider it a perk. I consider it completely necessary, and anyone who has taught for any length of time knows exactly what I mean.

From the outside, teaching looks like a sweet gig to many people. They assume that teachers start their work day when students enter the classroom, and end it when students exit. They assume we get all our work done within the confines of a school day, and leisurely eat bon bons at home the rest of the time. They would be wrong. Most school days I work 7:30am-5pm, and take work home, as well as answer parent communications. I also chair committees, run student clubs, work on special projects, etc. in addition to all of my lesson planning and instruction. Let's not even start with professional development and summer curriculum work. Plus, let's just say it isn't the kind of job where I can go grab a Starbucks or pick up my dry cleaning mid-day. Sometimes I find I've gone the whole day without peeing!

I say summers (about 10 weeks) are well deserved. And even then, I've tutored 2 days per week (and often during the school year) to supplement my mediocre income.

This summer was very different than any other because of LF. To be honest, I didn't know how I was going to feel about it when the school year ended. My maternity leave was a tough time for LF and I. I was deep in the throws of PPD and desperate for some semblance of my pre-mommy life. Honestly, I was relieved to go back to work at the time. So, when late June came around, I didn't know if I was going to feel as overwhelmed as I did in April.

Little did I know how amazing this summer would be. In just these last 9 weeks, he has developed so, so much. Not only is he doing things like sitting up and army crawling across the floor (hello, baby gates!), but he is constantly babbling with consonant sounds, went from 4(!) catnaps to 2 predictable longer ones, is eating solid foods, is sleeping through the night (mostly), and is generally amazing. Even at those times when he is driving me nuts because he won't cooperate with whatever I want him to do, I am just overflowing with how much I love this baby. He is a person now, and someone I miss desperately when I am away from him.

But here I go. About to walk into another school year. And here he goes. Into a daycare/Grandma care split.

I keep thinking of how much I am going to miss during those weekdays, all of the things he will do for the first time when I am not there.

I'm sure once we get into a routine again, I won't feel so despondent about this. The stimulation in daycare and quality time with the grandfolk are big benefits right?  He won't forget I'm his mom, right?

At least we have the summers...

Monday, July 29, 2013

Head Over Heels

As always, please take care of yourself if you are in a bad place with TTC. You may not want to read this entry.

I was looking at LF the other day and something hit me. Something that I wish had hit me the day he was born. I have fallen completely head over heels in love with this child. I have always loved him. I mean, he's my baby. Of course I love him. But this whole "in love" thing is more recent, and I'm not afraid to say it.

I am sure this post might not sit well with some people, but I am going to be 100% honest here. It took me a while to say with certainty that I am absolutely, completely happy about being a mom. If you've been reading for the past seven months, you know I got hit with a pretty bad bout of postpartum depression. The transition from pregnancy to motherhood was tough in a way I didn't expect. It has taken me a long time to get my feet back under me and REALLY start to enjoy our new life. I feel like I was in survival mode for many months, and then, all of a sudden, I look forward to every moment with my little man. Even on the tough days, he makes me smile and melts my heart.

Sometimes I feel incredible guilt about the fact that it took so long to adjust. Did I waste all that time before? Am I a bad mother because I didn't hear violins and feel soft music in the recovery room at the hospital? I don't know. But what I do know is that I am catching up quickly, and that is a great feeling.

Something similar happened with KG. BAM. One day, I was in love with him. Completely smitten. 12 years later, I still feel those flutters when I see him. Perhaps it just is part of who I am. I need some time to feel the sledgehammer. But once I do, look out. There's no stopping it.

Happy seven months, little man. Mama loves you and is IN LOVE with you. And I mean it.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Deposits and Withdrawals

Someone once described relationships (familial, romantic, and friendly) as a bank account. Sometimes you make a lot of deposits (giving ample time, attention, and care to others) and sometimes you make a lot of withdrawals (leaning on those close to you). I've always considered myself someone who really tried to make more deposits than withdrawals. Or at least made it 50/50.

But, since LF was born, I know I have been withdrawing A LOT. More than during periods of anxiety or depression. More than during infertility treatment. I've been relying on those close to me for support and understanding more than I ever have. While I was in the thick of the newborn stage, I didn't really think about this too much. I was consumed with day-to-day survival. Everything else, even basic showering and eating needs, took a back burner.

Now that LF is 6 months old, and I can function at about 75% of what my pre-baby capacity was, this has been on my mind a lot. I've noticed changes in many of my friendships. Some obvious, some subtle. But mostly, I'm feeling some distance from many of my friends. There aren't as many phone calls. There aren't as many visits. There aren't as many texts. Lately, it's been making me feel pretty sad. It is as though I made too many withdrawals in the early days of LF's arrival.

I mean, some of this is normal. We all have busy lives (with or without children) and as we age our jobs and personal lives get more and more demanding. It's also incredibly difficult for KG and I to do spontaneous things these days. Everything runs on baby standard time, and last minute cancellations are pretty common due to illness, etc. Some friends are wonderfully understanding about this. They roll with it, and know that it usually evens out in the end, because many of them are in the same boat.

However, some friends have a hard time understanding that it isn't as easy as, "Just take the baby with you!"

There are naps and feedings to consider, as well as certain times of day that bring out the best and worst in LF. Additionally, with LF's reflux, feeding him outside of our home was a nightmare for a long time, and I'm still carrying some scars from that. (We are just trying out a day trip with the baby this weekend for the first time and its stressing me out already.) I know some babies can sleep anywhere at anytime, but LF is not that baby. He will knock out in the stroller or carseat sometimes, but not reliably. We want to encourage him to be flexible, and we do try to sleep him in various places (bringing the pack n' play to friends' homes, etc.) but it doesn't always work, and then we have a very fussy baby on our hands and the overnights suffer as well. The trade-offs are sometimes worth it, but sometimes not.

The longer I am LF's mother, the longer I feel like he was made this way. Even as a newborn, he had really specific, and lets' face it: high maintenance, needs we had to meet in any way we can. He is who he is, and our job is to do what is best for him, at all times. It seems selfish to make my baby upset or uncomfortable because I want to drink wine with my girlfriends.

The hard part is the judgement I perceive when we have to say no to things, especially evening events that conflict with bedtime. I feel like sometimes we, LF's parents, are seen as the problem. That somehow we made him into a baby that has difficulty with feedings, sleeping, etc. That somehow if we were more "this" or more "that" then we would have made an incredibly easy infant that we could tote along at any time. KG recently articulated it really well. He said, "LF isn't a piece of luggage we can bring wherever and whenever we want. He's a person." He's also a person who can't yet speak for himself. He relies on us to intuitively make decisions we feel would make him the most comfortable.

But the other side of that coin is that it has been a long time between visits with some people close to us, and I'm sure they get as frustrated by that as we do.

I think it is probably time for me to start making more deposits into those relationships. Lately I've been reaching out more to friends to visit and spend time together, with and without LF. KG is often willing to hang with the baby while I hang out with a friend. We've gotten a sitter, and taken advantage of my mother's help, to have a dinner out here and there. We're even taking a trip to NJ to see some friends in a couple of weeks. Our first trip with LF!

Socially, we're slowly starting to make our way back into the land of the living.

I just hope we aren't overdrawn.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Building Immunity

Yup, I'm that blogger that went back to work and didn't write ONE post in the last few months. I never wanted to become her, but here I am.

I have lots of reasons: I was finishing a very tough school year. I was learning how to balance being a mom, wife, teacher, friend, daughter, etc. Hell, I'm still learning. I was so busy that I only had time to work, eat, sleep, and be with LF and KG.

The truth is, exhaustion and family time won out over my blog. I just wasn't willing to give up my 8:30 bedtime while everything was so overwhelming. But, now that my school year ended, I'm hoping to make a blogger come back. Other than going to the CVS Minute Clinic for an ear infection (mine, not LF's), blogging was first on my list for summer vacation. I'm feeling a little rusty, so hang in there with me while I get my writing legs back.

All in all, LF is turning into an amazing little man. He does new "tricks" often. The latest: turning back to belly in his crib, over and over again. Too bad this is often when he is supposed to be sleeping! He smiles, laughs, and plays his days away. He loves to "talk," grasp things, play with new toys, touch and explore faces, and watch the world with wonder. He is close to sitting on his own, and is loving daycare, despite being sick a lot (more on that later).

The transition back to work went better than expected, and actually helped me get over the hump with my postpartum depression. I missed LF every day, but having a piece of my pre-mommy identity back was incredibly good for me. Selfish or not, I know I improved enormously in the last few months. Of course, the series of colds and viruses that have plagued LF make me feel very guilty. Luckily, there's no choice in the matter. Both KG and I have to work for our financial health, so I can only beat myself up so much about it. He's building immunity, right?

Speaking of building feels as though I've been building some of my own lately.

There have been several moments since LF was born that I've said, "I'm the worst person to be his mother." That might sound awful considering what it took to get LF in the first place. But, since he was born, I have discovered parts of myself more vulnerable and raw than I ever knew existed. Although I theoretically knew motherhood was a tough job and unexpected things would happen (babies get sick, babies cry, babies do things that are unpredictable) I did not know when I was pregnant that I would often be unable to emotionally process those things without completely losing it. Seriously, I see moms who can let all those things roll off their backs without ridiculous amounts of worry or anxiety and I am green with envy. I on the other hand often freak out. Actually, not just often: ALL THE TIME. Illnesses, sleep disturbances, eating, reflux, you name it. Something with LF throws me and I can't eat, sleep, or smile. So, I get these moments when I feel like LF deserves a different mom. One who won't turn into a neurotic mess at every sneeze and sniffle. One who is a pillar of strength all the time. I know some moms like this, and I so wish I could channel their abilities.

Most recent example? LF ended up with a terrible virus that landed us in urgent care on a Sunday when his temp reached 104.4. During the week he battled this fever, he also had to have a chest xray, a botched blood draw, and more. I wanted to be strong for him. I really, really tried to put on a brave face and distract him with smiles and songs. But, there were many times when I could. not. do. it. Instead, I wept right along with him and had to lean on my mom (who just moved here with my dad from Los Angeles! OMG!). At one point, I asked a nurse in his pediatrician's office whether my crying was marked on a list to give nurses a head's up. She smiled kindly and told me that most mothers would be on a list if that was true.

Still, I know I take it too far. It is counterproductive and wastes time and energy I need. Plus, I'm going to be in this job for a long, long time. KG reminded me of lots of things to come: teething, injuries, teasing in school, heartbreaks. It is all coming, ready or not.

I know I need to toughen up. I know I can't continue to make myself sick with worry. It isn't good for me, KG, or LF. But, I'm just not there yet. I especially know that compared to some people very close to my heart, I have nothing to worry about. LF is a happy, (sometimes) healthy baby who is going through all the normal bumps in the road.

Perhaps with every new experience (both the scary kind and the wonderful kind) I'll build a thicker skin and a little more immunity.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Days are running out

Since I last wrote, lots of changes have been under way. Bullets seem like the most efficient way to summarize the last month of my life:

• Little Fab's reflux FINALLY improved. After a consult with a pediatric gastroenterologist, we found that his dosage of medication was too low, and the way it was compounded affected the potency of the medication dramatically. So, after changing both, and over two weeks of waiting, LF can finally eat comfortably. It has only been in the last week or so that we've seen this dramatic change, which means I can feel okay about daycare being able to feed him. More on this below. I can not emphasize how horrible his feedings were before now. For all of March I was the only person who could feed him, because of his screams, back arching, writhing, etc. and I could not feed him in public. I felt so isolated and hopeless. I am beyond ecstatic that he is doing so much better. I'm praying it continues.

• I can't believe it but I head back to work on Tuesday. All of a sudden, the reality of balancing parenthood, marriage, and teaching is hitting me like a ton of bricks.

• We did two half days and one full day of daycare this week, in order to prepare for next week, when he will attend full-time. I managed to get less emotional about it than I thought I would. But, it still kills me to leave him, and I miss him when he's gone. The test days went well, so here's hoping it stays that way.

• My PPD hit a pretty bad low during March. After weekly sessions with my therapist, some medication adjustments, and LF's improvement, I am finally feeling better. I must admit though, I feel a bit resentful (of myself I suppose) that so much of my leave was emotionally difficult for me. I won't dwell on this, but it seems as though as soon as I started to really enjoy motherhood, I'm back to work.

• My parents are moving here, cross country, to be closer to LF! I haven't lived in the same city as my parents since I was 18! Holy sh*t!

• For some reason the email notifications about comments went to my spam folder for my last entry! I'm sorry it took me so long to approve them. They are all set now.

• New LF pics are up! Enjoy!

I hope to be back to blogging more regularly, once I'm in a rhythm at work. I have a lot on my mind, and have had no chance to work it through here. I miss writing and have made a vow to myself to get back to it, one way or another. 

Friday, March 8, 2013

In and Out of the Fog

I'm here. Well, I should say that I'm not "here" (as in on the blog) but I am here, as in alive and breathing.

Where have I been? There are a few different parts to that answer.

1. Little Fab has only been cat-napping for the last month or so. Seriously, this kid is like a timer - 30-45 minutes, and then WIDE AWAKE. That's barely enough time to eat, use the bathroom, and make a phone call or wash dishes. But, if he is in bed with me, I get about 2 hours. Since I can not sleep during the day (did I pass this gene to my son?) I rest and breathe. But, if I move an inch he stirs. So, I've gotten good at surfing the web one-handed from my phone, or reading a book over his shoulder. While this isn't ideal, it is a good excuse to relax. It's also an excuse to cuddle with my boy, which is a kind of closeness I really need right now. After two months of struggling to continue the minimal nursing I was able to do (and yes, I tried EVERYTHING to get my boobs to cooperate), I finally threw in the towel. By the end, LF would only feed for 2-3 minutes at a time before he got so frustrated he would cry, so these naps are some of our only times to cuddle.

2. LF's reflux continues to be incredibly stressful. Although we have seen *some* inconsistent improvement, his feedings involve lots of time, struggle, and tears for him and for me. We have been on two different meds and three different formulas so far. We try different positions for eating and sleeping, singing to him, distracting him, etc. and still he struggles to comfortably eat. To boot, he also has ASTOUNDING gas and that also makes him squirm and cry during feedings. It also interferes with his ability to nap and stay asleep at night. As he gets bigger, we hope this will improve, but in the meantime we made an appointment with a pediatric gastroenterologist for the end of the month. As you can imagine, by the end of the day (especially one of his bad days) I am completely spent. I can barely muster the energy to chat with KG on some days.

3. This PPD thing is very up and down, and completely dependent on how LF is doing. I find his good days are my good days, and his bad ones are my bad ones.

On the upside, LF is beautiful, strong, and healthy (other than the reflux). Above, you'll see a page where I've added a couple of pictures. He really smiles and stares at us now, which makes things a bit easier. I can't tell you what a relief it is to see that little smile after a long, long night. Somehow he knows just when I need to see it.

I won't lie. Right now it is really hard to read blogs of new moms who are in bliss. The ones where babies take long naps, eat peacefully, and can be taken anywhere at any time. Someday I hope that isn't the case, but right now it is. I am deeply grateful for the baby I have, but he is a complicated little man that I'm still working on figuring out.

Off to attempt another 35 minute nap...

Wednesday, February 13, 2013


Thank you so much for the responses to this post and to Mel at Stirrup Queens for choosing it for the Roundup. I feel really supported by the comments and I'm glad it resonated with so many of you. I actually didn't receive one flame comment, and for that I am truly grateful.

Only a few days after I wrote the last post, my chin went back under water. I must have jinxed myself, because just when I thought I was feeling secure, I lost it. There were entire days I spent crying. There were moments when I literally felt numb as I walked through my day. There was a week-long visit with my sister (and a blizzard!) that I was only half present for. There was a dinner with girlfriends that I held back tears through. It was during that time that I realized that PPD is going to be with me for a bit. It may not be there every day, but it's standing right behind me for now.

It seems that my mood is completely linked to how LF's day goes. He recently got diagnosed with reflux and now that we are treating it, it seems as though a lot of his crying, irritability, and fussiness was linked to it. Poor kid, no wonder he was so difficult to soothe. But, in the days (weeks) leading up to his diagnosis and for several days after we started medication, he was inconsolable. He cried on and off all day and night. He slept fitfully in short spurts. He was just in constant need, and I felt like I was failing him because I didn't know what was wrong or how to help. I was a mess. He was a mess. As you can imagine, this made life incredibly stressful in the Fabulousness household, and poor KG was left to pick up the pieces.

Since getting treated, he has been much more comfortable and therefore much easier to soothe. KG and I are also figuring out more about him as a person - his cues for fatigue and hunger, his need for swaddling when he's overstimulated, and the difference between his cries. I've even managed to get him to take more naps (although he only sleeps for 30-45 mins at a time). Now if we could get him to do longer stretches overnight, THAT would be something (Advice about 7 week olds here please?). He also found the beginnings of his smile (a bit late) and is starting to focus on our faces more. Finally, I am starting to see my little man's (complicated, cute, fussy, funny) personality, and therefore I feel a little more secure and grounded. More frequent visits with my therapist and a tweak to my medication have also helped push me in the right direction. Not to say that there aren't bad days, but, on his good days, I feel optimistic.

Stay tuned.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Turning a Corner

After I wrote the last post, I had a breakthrough moment.

That day, I spent the entire morning trying to get Little Fab to nap. After all, everything I read said that newborns should be sleeping A LOT. However, LF does not sleep A LOT. (Although he has teased us with a few 3 hour stretches in the last few days. Trying not to jinx it.) But, being the rookie I am, I really, really thought that I needed to enforce a nap. I shushed, rocked, fed, changed, and swaddled him. Then, I begged and pleaded with him. Through it all, LF fussed, cried, and generally expressed how pissed off he was at my trying to get him to do something he was not willing to do. By the time my mom arrived at my house (she was here visiting from California for 2 weeks), I was in tears.

"Newborns are supposed to sleep a lot!"
"I should be able to get my son to sleep!"
"I'm a terrible mother!"
"I can't handle this!"
"I haven't slept for a month!"

After calming me down, she gently took LF out of my arms and sent me to take a shower. After sobbing in the shower as well, and reflecting on how many days I had ended up in tears for one reason or another, I decided to actually listen to some of the advice my mom offered.

It sounds so simple when I write it here, but somehow it took all that strife for this to sink in. She said that no matter how much I want LF to be on my schedule, I'm really on his. I can set up conditions for him to sleep: holding him, feeding him, changing him, swaddling him, and providing white noise and a dimly lit room. But, if he doesn't want to sleep, he isn't going to sleep. Spending hours and hours driving myself nuts wasn't worth it, because he still wasn't sleeping and I was a mess. Instead, she said, I need to go with his flow and follow his lead. If he won't sleep, play or put him in the car and go somewhere. She promised I would feel better and things would go more smoothly if I didn't try so hard to impose control on the situation.

Anyone who knows me knows what a difficult pill that was for me to swallow. I crave predictability, routine, and control over my life. I research EVERYTHING. I plan out nearly every move I make in both my personal and professional life in a deliberate manner. This is my go-to coping mechanism. In fact, the hardest part of my adjustment to parenthood has been the unpredictability of each day. Hell, of each hour.

Now, I don't always listen to my mother's advice. I'm sure she would say I poo-poo it often. But, what she said made sense. It dawned on me that maybe part of the point of this whole experience is for me to start letting go of needing so much control and go for the ride a bit.

I won't lie - that scares the shit out of me. But really, I have no choice. I have to change the way I approach my days with LF, or else both of us will be miserable. So, I've made an effort over the last several days to let Little Fab lead. When he's awake, I go with it. When he naps, I usually use the time to be productive, but sometimes rest. (Damn, I wish I could nap during the day.) As a result, I've been crying less, he's been napping a little bit more, and life is generally more pleasant. I've also noticed that I enjoy my time with him more - we do tummy time, "play," and hang out together while we figure each other out. Although he continues to have fussy periods throughout the day and night, I do feel like I know him a little better, which also helps me soothe him.

I've also been considering the name of this blog. I was talking to KG about how I wasn't sure if the name "Waiting for Little Feet" was appropriate anymore, considering we were successful in bringing Little Fab into the world. But, he thought otherwise. He said, "Now it just means something different. Instead of waiting for those feet to arrive, now we are waiting to see what those feet will do." So, the name remains, as will the blog. I'm not sure how the content will evolve. But, this blog was never completely about infertility, nor will it be completely about parenting. It will just be.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Supposed to...

I was inspired by the courage of MissConception and Jen, as well as the encouragement of Cristy to write this post. If you are in a bad place with TTC right now, please skip this entry. I wrote it at a low point and although I have made some breakthroughs since writing it, I feel like I still want to post it. I will follow up with a post about my recent improvement.

I have been living with the words "supposed to" a lot since Little Fab came home. It seems that when you are a new mother, and especially an infertile new mother, there are a lot of "supposed tos." I am supposed to be working towards getting my newborn on a schedule. I'm supposed to have enough breastmilk to feed him. I am supposed to be able to gently rock him to sleep at the first yawn. I have not been able to consistently accomplish any of those things and therefore I'm generally feeling like a failure at all of this. I have this beautiful, happy, healthy baby and I feel like I'm coming apart some days. Not all days, but too many.

I am also supposed to be flooded with joy. I am supposed to have natural instincts about all things newborn. I am supposed to be loving every minute. But I'm not. I'm trying really hard to do all of those things, but I am struggling. I can't seem to let go of what I thought this would all be like, and the reality of how difficult being a new mother is. After all, I tried for over two years to have LF. I should have known what I was getting into right? I should be grateful for every sleepless night and every cry from the crib. So what the hell is wrong with me? Why am I dissolving into tears several times a week?

Mainly I think it comes from being overwhelmed by nearly everything right now. The difficulty I had with breastfeeding (still hanging in there with nursing before every bottle of formula), the lack of any rhyme or reason to LF's voracious appetite (all those rumors about formula babies sleeping more is bullshit in this house), the lack of sleep (this cannot be understated), the lack of quality time with KG or with myself for that matter, and decisions about EVERYTHING (from bottles to parenting philosphies). Did I also mention that I've not yet spent a day completely alone with LF?* The day KG went back to work my parents arrived. How the hell am I going to do everything alone? Why can't I manage to return phone calls and emails? Why can't I figure out how to take a shower every day? But when I really think about it, the feeling that bothers me most is the immense guilt I have about how much I miss being pregnant. It was a perfect, happy time for me, and now it feels a lifetime away.

I've been leaning on my friends (with and without children) a lot lately. Sometimes for advice, sometimes for the feeling of normalcy I get when I am around them. They have been my lifeline and I'm so grateful to all of them for the meals, hugs, and visits. But, as we head into month 2, the visits and calls have slowed, as one would expect. However, my desperation for the connection grows each day.

Before delivery, I had no idea that I would feel like such a failure. Because I can't figure out his eating patterns. Because I can't tell one cry from another very well. Because I can't seem to help him sleep more than a 2 hour stretch at a time. Because I can't decide whether we should be pushing him towards a schedule or just following his lead. Aren't I supposed to know all of these things as his mother?

That isn't to say there aren't moments when I look at LF and am in awe: of how gorgeous he is, how much of a person he looks like already, even at 4 weeks, how fascinated he is with light and patterns. Moments when he sleeps on my chest or stares at my face make me melt. I love this child. I also watch KG with him and am consumed with warmth - KG is madly in love with his son, which makes me fall more madly in love with him. But then I feel even worse, like I'm not authentically feeling what I should for my baby. I worry that I'm letting KG down because I am so needy and emotional these days. I want to be as happy as he is, and I'm just not there yet.

So, it seems like my history of depression and anxiety has reared its ugly head. I knew I was at high risk for PPD but man, I was hoping to dodge the bullet. Therefore, I'm seeking help. I made an appointment with my therapist. I'm reminded by people close to me that I can't be a good mom if I don't take care of myself, mentally and physically. I want to be the mother LF deserves. I want to be the wife KG deserves. I want to feel like myself and enjoy this time, instead of feeling like I need to survive it.

So, right or wrong, that's where I'm at. I'm sure some people reading this will want to flame me for feeling this way when so many are still struggling to have their first baby. Of course, as an infertile, I might have felt the same way before I was actually living this. But, this space is my own to get and give support and it will remain so, even post baby.

*I have since been spending lots of alone time with LF.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Holy Shit. I'm a Mom.

Meet Little Fab...aka My Son

As much as I thought life was nuts before I went into labor on Christmas Eve, I had no idea how crazy it was about to get. Although finishing up at work before my leave was stressful, it seems ridiculous now to call myself "busy" when all I had to do was work. I also had no idea how little I knew about the reality of becoming, then being, a mom. In other words, holy shit my world has been upside down since the day LF were born.

While I have fresh memories, let's recount events. I started having irregular back contractions 2 days before Christmas. These were painful but unpredictable, so we had to wait it out. Unfortunately, by the time they were regular, on Christmas Eve, I was already 2 days sleep deprived! Although I had hoped to avoid an IV, epidural, etc. I knew I needed help in order to make it through delivery. Amazing how quickly a "birth plan" becomes a flexible idea. I ended up with an epidural due to how long I had already been working through the contractions. Honestly, in the middle of labor, I wondered how on earth women make it through med-free deliveries. My hat is 100% off to those who can do it. I learned that I am not one of those women. I mean, I had an epidural and I still felt as though I was never going to make it.

Labor took a long time, and I pushed for almost 3 hours, but LF arrived at 1:29 PM on Christmas Day. He was a hefty 8 pounds, 6 ounces, and 20 inches long. The OB who delivered me was amazing (I like him better than my actual OB!) as were the nurses. He really helped me avoid bad tearing. In the end, only a one degree tear and some minor other ones. Physically, I'm feeling pretty good, other than serious swelling in my feet and legs and some tenderness in the nether regions.

In the hospital, all was well with breastfeeding. But, since coming home, we have had a lot of problems with nursing that made caring for LF really stressful. We aren't 100% sure why, but my milk still has not really come in (10 days later) and my little man quickly let us know that colostrum was NOT going to be enough by about day 3 and a half. He was really frantically hungry and unable to be consoled. We really struggled with what to do, but he lost more than 10% of his body weight and were advised to begin supplementing with formula. For those who instantly are about to criticize our choice, you should have been in our apartment the first three days. He would scream frantically every half hour, despite being nursed as often as he demanded. It was heartbreaking and I began to have a really serious issue with my anxiety. No one could function and even KG started to hit his breaking point.

Now, with nursing, pumping (achingly small amounts) and formula, LF is gaining weight and is MUCH more happy and calm. The last couple of days have been much better. The milk issue is a major disappointment for me and the theories are: PCOS rearing its ugly head, anxiety, some medication I take, and lack of sleep.  I'm still hoping at some point this will happen. But, I'm also coming to terms with letting go of control and understanding this may be a formula fed baby, despite our efforts. It's just frustrating - first with infertility (failure of my ovaries) followed by failure of my boobs.

What's been even more challenging is the adjustment to being a parent. We are totally in love with our baby, but really, no one can prepare you for the changes that come with bringing a newborn home. It's like there is no normal right now, and everything we took for granted (showers, eating and sleeping at the same time as KG, making phone calls, etc.) are all actual goals for the day. I'm not saying I resent any of this. We are exceptionally lucky to be where we are. But, I have found it difficult in these first days to be the glowing picture of motherhood you see on TV. Instead, I relish in the moments when I change out of pjs and into actual clothes for the day.

KG is really good at seeing the big picture: the newborn days are limited. There will be smiles, giggles, fun activities, and much more interaction as LF grows. But, I get a little caught up in the hour-to-hour exhaustion of right now. KG has always been an amazing partner, but he has also quickly turned into an AMAZING father. He has been there for both of us every single second, without fail. He never ceases to amaze me.

I have several posts in mind, including one about the future of this blog, in the works. But, forgive me as I stumble around for a while.

Edited to add: MissConception's post about post partum says a lot of things I feel much more eloquently than I can right now. It's amazing and real.