Mini me, you complete me…

I’ve always known that JR favors my side of the family more than Ross’s (at least on particularly noticeable feature like skin tone and hair color), but I still have those moments where I look at him and think, “Whoa. You clearly came from me.”

It’s pretty weird/really awesome.

(One housekeeping note: WordPress is being a jerkface re: comments. Instead of putting spam comments right in the spam section where they belong, they’re all going into moderation. This means I need to sort through all the jibber jabber to find and moderate legit comments from you fine people. Thanks for your patience!)

Here I go, pushing my cart

Why hello there!

Sorry for the absence. I’ve been busy doing a few things. Such as…

Making our house look festive for Christmas. This is an improvement over last year when I had just given birth and had just about as much motivation to decorate as to, well, give birth again

Putting this whole thing together for RVANews

Waiting for this lovely lady to welcome her son in to the world (which included a wait at the hospital until THREE THIRTY ON MONDAY MORNING)

And watching cute things like this:

I’m sure you understand.

Point!

I’ve been referring to this past Wednesday as “The Day Of Much Woe.” Work was frustrating on many different levels, JR was determined to do anything but nap, the house was (and still is) a disaster, and, ugh, just a million other things that I just can’t muster up the energy to talk about.

More than anything, I felt like a totally shitty parent that day. During the rare moments that I wasn’t completely occupied with something else, in those precious, fleeting pockets of time where I could have been playing with JR on the floor or reading to him… I just couldn’t do it.

And then I felt horrible. Because that’s what I do.

And then I felt guilty. Because I do that, too.

With the guilt came thoughts of, “I don’t play with him enough. I don’t talk to him enough. He’s going to be behind developmentally because I’m such an effing introvert that it doesn’t even occur to me to talk sometimes. Sure he does wave “bye-bye” but not all the time. And he’ll point to Ross when you say ‘Where’s Dada?’ about 60% of the time. But he rarely points to me when someone asks, ‘Where’s Mama?’ He has no clue who we are. Oh God, Oh God.”

Later that evening, I expressed all of this to Ross through some hiccuping and ugly tears.

Ross sighed, went over to JR, picked him up, walked back over to me, and said, “Where’s Mama?”

Without missing a beat, that baby of mine smiled, turned to me, and shoved one gloriously chubby finger right in my face.

And then I thanked God for that baby and his sweet father. Because I don’t do that enough.

I’m not ready, but he might be

For the last few evenings, JR has spent his last nursing session latching on for about a minute, pulling off, screaming, and diving back in again. Lather, rinse, repeat for about 20 more minutes until he either seems satisfied or gets so worked up that we give him a couple ounces of formula until he’s calmed down.

Adding to that, his other nursing times during the day are becoming a battle. He doesn’t want to sit still, preferring to roll around on the bed over curling up in my lap to eat. He doesn’t get frustrated – he’s just not particularly interested.

The only time it seems that he’s content to nurse is in the morning, and even then, he’s not taking as long as he used to. He gets straight to business and is ready to sit up and play on the bed with his dad. No more sweet baby sighs and curling his fingers around mine as he opens and closes his eyes sleepily.

It is making me so, so sad.

I KNOW! I never thought I would say that, especially after this post. But I am. What was once a struggle (hell, it was like a full time job most days) has become a complete joy most of the time. I know it sounds strange, but nursing JR makes me feel like we’re almost as close as we were when I carried him.

But he’s pulling away. The more I bring him towards me, the harder he pushes back. I know he’s telling me he’s ready for a change, to grow up a little more, to be less of a baby and more like a little boy. And while I know him growing up is a good thing, I don’t think my heart is quite ready to say goodbye to the baby him.

I can’t fully articulate how I’m feeling about this. So I’ll leave it to this talented lady. When I read this for the first time, I nodded a lot and cried even more.

Is one enough?

A friend sent me her first “official” belly picture the other. My first reaction was “SQUEEEEEEEEEEEE HORAY YAY BABIES!” And I must admit, I had a slight longing for going through that again.

Slight. Very slight. So very slight. And then I got distracted by something else, and it was gone.

As JR is closer to one (OH MY LORD MY BAYBEE) than he is a newborn, we are starting to get the ocassional inquiry as to when we will be having a second kid.

And to those inquiries I say, “Ha. Ha ha. Hahahahahahahahaaaaa. Whoo.”

We are not ready to even to begin talking about thinking about the notion of bringing another kid into this mix. Not even close.

In fact, we’re not sure that we ever will.

Funnily, if you had asked me a year ago how many kids Ross and I were planning on having, I probably would have immediately said, “At least two. We want this one to have at least one sibling.” And I believe that a few minutes after JR was removed from my person, I said, “I would do this again in a second.” Hormones are funny things.

It’s not that we don’t love JR. We do. Every last nommable, chunky, squidgy bit of him. And to think that we’d be able to love someone else as much as we love him is pretty incredible and tempting.

But, I can honestly say right now, I would be fine stopping here. In my life, the only thing I knew for sure that I wanted was to be a mother (not the only thing, just the most certain thing). I’ve done that now. I’m doing it. And I don’t think I necessarily have to do it multiple times over to fulfill that.*

Plus, can you imagine how big the next one would be? Holy canoli!

*Please not that this is not 100% definite and no drastic steps have been taken. We have just mutually (and quite enthusiastically) agree to table the discussion for a couple years.

Looking back

Now that I’m far enough removed from Jackson’s birth to really process it, I’m ready to talk about how things totally did NOT go how we planned. I know, it took 4 months to get to this point. But here we are.

When we were in our childbirth classes, I was more freaked out by the session talking about administering the epidural than the one in which we saw the baby being born. The idea of having a TUBE in my SPINE made me want to throw up.

For me, a C-section was my worst nightmare. I was terrified of the concept and even more terrified by stories of women having to wait hours to hold and nurse their babies. I was sure that a C-section equaled not having the chance to bond with my baby, an outcome that would have long-lasting and detrimental effects on all of us.

When I found out I was going to have to be induced, my first thought was, “I’m going to have Pitocin which means horrible contractions which means getting an epidural really early which means hours of pushing which means C-section!” I spent so much energy worrying about that, praying and praying that I wouldn’t have to go through that.

Well, I didn’t go through exactly that, but I didn’t have the birth I was expecting.

I hoped for a labor and delivery free from medical intervention, mostly because I thought I could handle it. My thought was, “I can do anything for a day.” Plus I’d heard so many wonderful things about natural childbirth (you know, aside from the horrible pain thing) and I wanted to give it a try.

As we all know, I ended up having about 45,000 interventions. IV, fetal monitoring, pain medication, an epidural, and I never got to experience the feeling of pushing my baby into this world.

And you know what? I really don’t care.

I got through 14 hours of labor with absolutely nothing helping me but some deep breaths and my husband basically punching me in the back to counter the INSANE back labor. 14 hours. Try to imagine someone trying to rip you in half for that long. The 6+ remaining hours were spent numb from the waist down, willing my cervix to get its act together. Alas, it never did and we had to go in and get the kid.

I know some women have an incredibly hard time after experiencing a C-section birth after hoping and expecting something different. Meanwhile there are people who actually have the nerve to say to new mothers having just experienced a C-section that it probably wasn’t necessary – the doctor was just in a hurry, or she should have just endured labor a little longer. I don’t think they realize this when they say it, but comments like that suggest that such births are less special or amazing.

I don’t feel like any less of a mother for not pushing my baby out. I carried him. My body made his body. We went through over 20 hours of labor together, both of us feeling the intensity of it, going through what needed to be done to bring him into this world.

And his birth was – excuse me while I weep – every bit as incredible as I could have ever asked for, with its own key players, priceless moments, and overwhelming emotions.

Looking back, I think perhaps Jackson’s birth was a bit more urgent than we realized. It was by no means a crash C-section, but there were several factors leading us to the decision that he needed some help: heart rate dropping with strong contractions which meant the cord was most likely around his neck; lots and lots and lots of hours passing after my water broke on its own and absolutely no progress; posterior positioning making it even harder for him to move down and out. I’m convinced that if we had waited things out much longer, things could have gotten very scary very quickly.

The bottom line is he’s here. He’s safe. We’re together. And things? They are fabulous.

Things I’m learning about motherhood

1. Mothers don’t get sick days. Oddly though, fathers do. Hmmm.

2. Babies don’t care if the dishes are done.

3. All of those people on Inside the Actor’s Studio who say their child’s laughter is their favorite sound aren’t BSing.

4. If you don’t feel 5 steps behind at all times, you’re probably deluding yourself.

5. Sometimes things they don’t like really are good for them (examples: tummy time and nasal aspirators).

6. The one time you don’t have a burp cloth over your shoulder is when they will vomit all the way down your back.

7. Your personal grooming will forever take a backseat to your child’s. Because who cares what you look like? You don’t want people thinking you don’t know how to take care of your kid.

8. Days where you both stay in your pajamas are essential for your sanity because it’s one less thing you need to do.

9. Peeing in the bath tub happens. So does pooping. And both are nothing to get all in a hissy about.

10. Babies. They are awesome.

Baby’s first sleepover

JR will be spending Saturday night at my mother’s house. As in not in the same place as me. As in we will spend our first night away from each other since he took up residence in my belly and then made his entrance into our lives three months ago.

Ross and I have a thing we have to go to for work on Saturday night. As JR will be at my mom’s house in King William, and she wasn’t thrilled with the idea of us having to drive an hour to her house and back to get him, my mom suggested we just let him stay the night. This way we wouldn’t have to rush out and could spend the evening hanging out with our friends.

I know I should be jumping up and down with excitement at the thought of this. I mean, I’ll get to go out! With friends! And have some booze!

And yet, when I think about it, it makes me want to cry.

Don’t get me wrong. I am so happy that my mom is willing to do this, and I know it’s good for all of us – Ross and I need to time to reconnect and interact with people not requiring us to change their pants, and JR needs to learn to be comfortable with different caregivers.

But I keep thinking “What if he wakes up and doesn’t know where he is and gets scared? What if he gets sick? What if he doesn’t eat well at his last feeding and wakes up in the middle of the night screaming?”

I know in my head that the answer to all of these worries is that my mom will take care of him, and he will be fine. She has raised three children and is amazingly respectful of the schedule and routine we try to keep JR on. But my heart aches a little bit thinking that on Sunday morning, she’ll be getting that first sweet little smile of the day.

Then again, I will still be asleep in my cozy bed when she gets it.