Re-framing

And just like that G is five weeks old. It feels like both an eternity and only a moment has passed. I still forget he is not inside me anymore and when I remember I feel a little sad. When we have playtime I marvel at how much he changes everyday. When he’s screaming for no apparent reason I have to remind myself its all part of the magic.

He’s now up to 8lbs and starting to both sleep longer stretches and be awake for longer stretches. We can get a good play in a couple times a day. He is so close to smiling- I can’t wait for that first true gummy grin.

I definitely feel like a real mom now, especially with the breastfeeding going so much better. I kind of know what to do- but I’m also finding that every few days you have a whole new situation on your hands!

It is true that you lose a lot of your old self. Not the core stuff, just the things that used to seem really important are no longer crucial. My schedule has totally changed, and it has taken a while to adjust to the chaos of a newborn. I sleep A LOT less, but I’m starting to get 7hrs consistently and I think that’s manageable. I long for those days of sleeping 12hrs then reading with coffee and a warm blanket the rest of the day, nothing to do and no where to be.

I’ve learned though that the most important part of having a newborn is how you frame it. My good friend grew up around a Mennonite community and she says the way they view children as a blessing and a miracle really changes your outlook on diaper changes at 3am. She says no matter how awful the baby, she never heard a bad word spoken about them. They were cherished every moment. I think in today’s world with all this pressure to raise the perfect child, to go back to work too fast, and to keep your whole life Insta-worthy, it’s easy to get frustrated and angry with a difficult baby. But I’m trying to slow down and enjoy every moment- even the not so great ones. To be present is changing the way I see G. Yes he’s a handful. He’s also a miracle that won’t stay small for very long. He’s already almost out of newborn clothes and his first few weeks were so crazy for both of us I want to make sure that I’m there for him in everyway possible from now on.

While I think its important for moms to be themselves as well as moms, sometimes letting your old self go a little bit can make you a better parent. After all, I CHOSE to have this baby. I wanted him. I can’t expect such a huge and powerful experience to not change me. I grieve my old life a little, I’m not going to lie- but allowing myself to change has made my outlook so much better. I’m happier for it. And getting peed on is no longer a hassle but hilarious.

Lessons from G

  1. No two days are the same. Somedays I scream bloody murder all day. Somedays I’m a little angel.
  2. The days I’m an angel are ALWAYS the days someone comes over to help/hold me.
  3. I make more laundry then your tired ass can keep up to.
  4. I go through more diapers and take more shits then you ever thought humanly possible.
  5. It seems as though I only pee when diaper is off and dick is left unattended (though amount of diapers would prove otherwise).
  6. When you think its safe to sit and pick up your knitting I WILL start screaming. Its the law.
  7. I insist upon eating too fast and getting milk all over my face and in my neck folds. I will then spit up a good portion of every meal instead of just burping like you seem to want.
  8. Most of my naps will be on/squished under one of your boobs.
  9. Mom learned she can blog with only one hand because I am so helpful.

Dredging it all up

I recently spent 7 days in NICU with my 4-week premature son G. While the experience was vastly different, it brought up a lot of trauma from previous psychiatric hospitalizations.

Post c-section I was in too much pain and was too worried about G to be bothered. But as we improved being there chaffed. I had a key card and ‘could’ leave at any time. But that would mean leaving him. I began to feel totally trapped. The smell of the hospital sheets was the same. The food was the same. The boredom was the same. Suddenly I was a psyc patient again.

As an involuntarily committed psyc patient you have no control over your stay. They say when and if you can go home. The worst part is they often tell you things are going well and you might be home by end of week and then they yank it away because of some small thing.

When this happened with G I totally lost it. He was doing so well. I had even gone home for the night to get the house ready. When I returned in high spirits the next morning he was back in the incubator under the jaundice lights again. The nurse told us at least another two days. I freaked out. This had happened to me so many times before and something in me just couldn’t hear those words again.

I feel selfish even writing this article because my poor baby was the one unwell and I should have been entirely focused on him, but I also have to be honest about how I feel.

G is really grappling with his bowels because his little immature digestive system is struggling to keep up to his voracious hunger. The little dude is up to 6lbs 3.5oz already and wants tons at every feed but is then gassy after. We have tried every method to help his poor little belly but the doctor assures us only time will help. It is hard emotionally to listen to him cry and exhausting to hold and burp/belly massage/comfort all day and night. Hubby and I are totally drained and hoping it passes soon.

Since I still struggle to sleep, even when given time, I have been dealing with a lot of symptoms creeping in around the edges. I keep telling myself it is just stress and fatigue- but I am also researching the earliest possible time to get back on meds. Everyone keeps telling me this is normal for new moms to be all over the place, which I am doing my best to deal with, but it’s the music that is really getting me. Some days it is so loud it distracts me from everything and keeps me awake. A few days ago (after 1 hour sleep in the last 24) there was a lovely mix of random disconnected talking, a few screams and MUSIC. I finally caved and took my rescue med Olanzapine and 10mg of Melatonin. After a solid 6 hours of sleep things improved dramatically. I was not cured, but I was coping again.

The part that scared me most was my anger toward G. That was really the straw that made me medicate, I could never live with myself if something happened.

I think it is this feeling of ‘crazy’ that is bringing back all kinds of junk from my past. I find in this state I can remember things that happened when I was in this state before. I’m sure it is because I don’t have the mental resources to block it, but also I think you just connect to those feelings better when situations are similar. I have been having very realistic and upsetting dreams about old things and potential new things. Since the meds I have started to ‘unpack’ my night with tea the next morning and put everything away so I can focus on my baby and the (seemingly endless) daily chores without being distracted. It is helping.

I think G and I are still bonding well. Hubby and I are trying to find little moments together now that my sister has come to help out (a total godsend!) and we are less snappy with each other. Overall things are not burning down. They are not ideal- but what life ever is?