Worst. Feeling. Ever.

For the past six days, my baby girl has been sick with a respiratory infection. She has been suffering from Bronchiolitis, which is basically a virus that causes mucous to build up in the small bronchial tubes in the lungs. She’s had difficulty breathing and she’s been wheezing and coughing – she’s had a runny/stuffy nose and a fever. There were days this week when, despite all our efforts, she was too weak to muster a smile. And it completely broke my heart.

I’ve decided there is absolutely no worse feeling in the world than watching your child suffer and knowing that you cannot do anything to alleviate that suffering. I’ve held her in my arms and cried because I could tell she was so miserable and it just seemed so unfair that this beautiful, helpless baby was going through this.

She can’t understand what’s happening… she can’t even blow her own nose, for God’s sake – how is it fair to be sick when you can’t even blow your own nose?!? I’ve had to suck her snot out with the nosefrida. It’s an idea that sounds gross to people who don’t have kids, but those who do don’t even flinch. Your kid’s nose is stuffy, they can’t blow it, you suck it. Case closed. Although, I must say, she hates it (even though she feels better afterwards) she hates having people messing with her all the time. Today, I reached towards her to touch her face and she recoiled. It hurt my heart. I know she’s just associating it with me wiping her nose (which gets sore after a while) but it still made me a little sad.

I’m only able to write now because she’s asleep, and I believe, on the mend. She’s been in good spirits today, and I realize more than ever that her smile means the world to me. I will make a complete fool of myself – anywhere, anytime – if it means I get one of her gorgeous ear-to-ear grins. I live and die for her. She holds my heart in her hands. I am constantly in awe of how immense my love is for her. I want to protect her so much that I can feel that desire in me as a visceral pain. I know I can’t protect her from everything and her being sick has probably been a lot harder on me and her dad than it has been on her. I’ve never felt more helpless or useless in my life.

How am I going to make it? This is just her first illness, and it’s not even a serious one at that. How will I make it through her first real injury, her first day at school, her first broken heart, her first million-and-one things that everyone goes through?

I guess I feel like I’m earning my stripes as a parent now. The word “Mom” is sounding more like a badge of honor to me these days than a description of familial relations. And despite everything I’ve just written here, I know in my heart, I’m ready for one more. Our family is meant to be the four of us… so whoever you are, spirit number four, get ready. Mommy doesn’t have a lot of time and you’ll soon be on your way!

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Yeah, get out of my way.

Lucky for you that I haven’t been able to blog about all my trials & tribulations with sleep, lack thereof, and the ever-so-controversial subject of sleep training. I blame sheer exhaustion, followed by a very inconveniently timed, week-long head cold for the lack of expansion on this matter.

Suffice it to say that sleep-training (and I suspect just about any parenting issue) is a very delicate topic, in that everyone has an opinion and, in most cases, people aren’t the least bit shy about offering unsolicited advice. A friend of my father’s suggested that as a vegan, (which, technically, I am not, since I eat eggs) my breastmilk may not have enough protein in it and that my child is waking up out of hunger. Anyone who sees my chubby little cherub couldn’t possibly think she was ever hungry! Anyway, there have been a whole host of suggestions, from rice cereal before bedtime to keeping her up until midnight. (Gasp! I can’t even imagine how miserable she would be.)

I also made the mistake of mentioning that I was going to start sleep training on my Facebook page and, wow, was I unprepared for the onslaught of comments. Mainly the comments were of the “your baby is too young” or “parents of babies don’t get sleep and you won’t either” variety. Those who said I would never be able to do it are still on my silent shit list. (Hey, don’t blame me if you never bothered to train your brat, okay?) The funny thing was that most of the supportive comments came in private messages, parents confessing they, too, were at their wits’ end and employed some modified form of cry-it-out to finally get their tots to sleep. Other new mothers messaged me and said they were waiting to hear my results before they tried it on their own.

Well, a good eight days later, I had [what I think are] very impressive results to report. Our little angel is now sleeping NINE consecutive hours and sometimes up to twelve per night, in addition to taking two daytime naps totaling three hours. Do you know how HUGE a victory this is!?!?! I am thrilled beyond words. And, no, it wasn’t easy… but I stuck to the program because I believed in the greater good. I knew my family, my baby, and I would all benefit from more sleep. Not only is she a happier baby when she’s awake, but she’s more alert, responsive, and is learning new skills at a faster pace. I couldn’t be any happier. I do still wake her up for a so-called “dream feed” right before I go to sleep, just to ensure she doesn’t wake up due to hunger. I don’t mind doing that, although, I’m toying with the idea of dropping the dream feed to see how well she can cope.

Today, I posted my results on FB and there has been a resounding silence. I wonder what all the naysayers think about my success? It reminded me of that quote from George Bernard Shaw, “People who say something cannot be done should get out of the way of those doing it.”

Why I don’t write more

Someday, I will no doubt look back on this blog and wish that I had written more – documented more about what my experiences in early motherhood were like. The present Me would like to remind the future Me that there simply is/was no time and that I was either torturously sleep deprived and/or preferred to spend precious waking moments paying attention to and interacting with my sweet baby.

Having said that, I am intentionally trying to ignore her now… as it is almost an hour past her bed time and she has had a screaming fit – for no discernible reason – for the better part of this time. Maybe if I hadn’t already been deprived of several nights’ sleep, I could think of a better, more creative, more compassionate plan of attack. However, that is simply asking too much of me right now.

Last night went something like this: I gave her her “last feed” at 8:25 pm and she was asleep by 8:50 pm, then she woke up at 9:10 pm. I rocked her to sleep. I tried to go to bed at 10 pm. She woke up again at 10:45 pm and 11:45 pm and I rocked her back to sleep each time. She woke up again at 1:20 am and would not be consoled, so I fed her (my admittedly misguided attempt to cheat & put her to bed the “easy way” as she tends to fall asleep after feeding). The joke was on me last night as she decided to sever our tacit understanding by crying, screaming, and generally making a nuisance of herself until 3:30 am. At this point, I was sobbing in the kitchen, on my husband’s shoulder (a rarity at that time of night) out of sheer exhaustion. I fed her again and she drifted off to sleep for somewhere close to an hour – I think. My memory starts to get a little fuzzy here. She may have gone to sleep for longer, and it just took me until 4:30 am to get to bed. At any rate, she was up again at 6:30 am, and I fed her again. Again, she showed no signs of going to sleep, and started her (cute, when I’m not tired) babbling. I tried to ignore her, but it was impossible since she still sleeps in our bedroom. Eventually, I had to wake up the hubby on his day off, even though he’d only gotten a few hours of sleep himself. He could see I was in bad shape, so he watched her for a couple of hours so I could get some much needed sleep.

What I really don’t understand is how she went from sleeping 7 to 9 hours a night without waking up – which is what she was doing at 2 months old – to THIS?!?! I’ve read all kinds of things about sleep regressions and 4 months seems to be a typical time for the first regression but this is horrible and I cannot go on like this. I walk around like a zombie all day, trying my best to be present and have fun with my precious baby – but I’m exhausted and am actually starting to dread nighttime. I can’t take all the screaming and crying. I can’t stand the lack of sleep. I completely understand why sleep deprivation is used as a form of torture.

To top things off, tonight, I felt some tenderness near my c-section incision and when I felt the area with my hand, I noticed a sizable lump on the right side. It felt very strange and I’ve never experienced anything like this. Google seems to think it’s a hernia… which would be really bad news, as that can only be treated surgically, and I wouldn’t be able to lift anything weighing over 15 lbs. (which basically means, no lifting my daughter). I really hope that’s not what it is, but I have a sinking feeling that my hoping is in vain.

I know this post isn’t particularly clever, funny, or entertaining… I just needed to jot a few things down for me. Take a little time for myself. Sometimes it just helps to take pen to paper, or fingers to the keyboard, as the case may be.

February 2nd

Just a quick post today to remember a year ago today when the doctor officially gave me the news that I was pregnant! (“Seriously pregnant!” were his exact words.) Since then, I have been happier and more consistently grateful than any other time in my life.

I was just changing Sammy’s diaper and told her that even though she’s in the body of a 3 1/2 month old adorable baby, that I see her soul. And I love her. And I thanked her again for choosing us.

I’ve always loved this song from Disney’s Sleeping Beauty and I used to sing it thinking about my husband, and today, I discovered, it also perfectly fits my daughter!

January 25th

A year ago today, I was nervously waiting for a phone call from my fertility doctor. I had had an egg retrieval procedure on January 20, 2012, with approximately 8 or 9 eggs retrieved. The surviving eggs had been fertilized and allowed to grow into three-day blastocysts. They had then been sent to the lab for chromosomal testing. A day five transfer had been planned, and the doctor was to call me if we didn’t have any viable embryos to transfer – so that I wouldn’t bother to show up at the clinic. The call never came… although, curiously, I barely allowed myself to believe it wasn’t some sort of mistake. Right up until he walked into the exam room, I thought my phone might still ring.

The doctor didn’t exactly look happy, but I knew he had to have good news. I had been praying so hard for two embryos to make it! He told me that they tested two batches together, the one from my second IVF and this, current, third IVF procedure. Then he told me that out of all the embryos tested, there was one normal embryo. I remember saying, “Well, it just takes one, right?” “That’s right,” he confirmed. Then later he would tell me, without my asking, that the normal embryo was embryo #10 and that it was a female embryo.

My husband was instantly thrilled. “We always wanted a girl!” he exclaimed with genuine excitement. I had never imagined myself having a daughter… but suddenly, it felt very real. All I wanted was for our one miracle embryo to take hold.

I remember how scared I was that something would go wrong during the transfer and they’d drop my invisible miracle on the floor or that something else would happen to prevent her from implanting. I remember Clair de Lune playing during the moment of transfer. I remember eating pineapple for five days straight afterwards because I read that it helped implantation. I remember my husband thinking the transfer automatically meant pregnancy. (He would tell anyone and everyone “my wife is pregnant” and at first, I thought he was just being supportive!)

I remember those horrible, cheap pregnancy test strips from China that – day after day – cruelly failed to pick up any HCG. I remember sobbing uncontrollably the day before my follow-up appointment because all the tests kept coming up negative… and I knew in my heart, I wasn’t ready to face the alternative choices that would have been before me.

I also remember the evening before my blood work, February 1, 2012, at approximately 7 pm, when I made the fateful decision to use the “expensive” pregnancy test… that gave me the result that would change my life forever. Pregnant. Two strong pink lines. My eyes still fill with tears whenever I think about it (even now, as my three month old daughter lies next to me, babbling at her toys). I remember jumping up and down with joy. I remember the doctor calling me to confirm the blood test results and telling me that I was very pregnant – whatever that meant – I was ecstatic to hear it!

This day will always be special to me, and I’ve decided I will celebrate every year by listening to Clair de Lune by Debussy and just taking a moment to remember. I’ve had a couple of big miracles in my life and their anniversaries are sealed in my heart.

Dreams do come true. Miracles do happen. What is impossible now, may very well become possible in just a split second. Things worth remembering.

2012 in Review

When I look back over this year and contemplate how much my life has transformed – and in exactly the ways I prayed and hoped it would – I am in awe and tearfully grateful.

Every year for the past I-don’t-know-how-many-years I would wish for the same thing — to have a baby and start our family in earnest. Each long year that passed with my dream unfulfilled left scars on my soul, scars that I now carry with pride and great appreciation. The multitude of experiences, the hope, the grief, the anxiety, all came together to form the alchemy of what is now my deep and abiding happiness. Just as carbon under extreme pressure yields nature’s strongest substance, and to many its most beautiful, so the emotions converge in the crucible of the soul to make us stronger and more beautiful for having endured such a difficult path to motherhood.

When I look at my daughter, everything unimportant melts away, and all I feel is pure bliss, peace, gratitude, and love. I would go through everything a thousand times over just to end up with her again. The world is such a different place for me now, and I have her to thank for that. She teaches me every day how precious and miraculous life is and how love is the only thing that has ever mattered.

To all the mothers and mothers-to-be, now and in the future, I wish you not only a happy new year, but also the ability to see the spectacular beauty in it all.

 

House guests and fish…

You know that old 16th century saying about house guests and fish having something in common? They both start to stink after three days.

Well, I just need to let off a little steam before I go mad here! My in-laws have been here for 5 days and nights so far and my husband has been at work (working super long hours) for three out of the five days, which means I’ve been left to care for and tend to his parents. And, I’ve officially had it today. I’m tired. And for the second time this week, my incisions scars are really sore – which always puts me in a bad mood – and, incidentally, is a sign that I’ve been too active. I want my peaceful home back!

Every single dish in the sink or used glass left wherever anyone feels like it is just irritating me more and more now. Last night, I made dinner from scratch even though we had a refrigerator full of leftovers. Why? Because my father-in-law won’t eat leftovers as a rule. Wow, that must be really nice considering he can’t even make himself a sandwich and depends on others to feed him! Tonight was just the worst. I asked my husband to take care of dinner (which I knew would mean ordering out). I figured that would be simple enough. We suggested several options. His dad decided he wanted pizza and his mother decided she wanted Indian food and, get this, neither one of them budged. So we had to get pizza for him and Indian food for her, all on my dime, mind you! I was so annoyed that I could hardly eat anything.

Also, I’m now so very tired of hearing the same exaggerated stories about my husband for the twentieth time. No, Lady, he’s not a “genius” with an IQ that leaves the rest of us in the dust no matter how many times you tell me the same phony story, I’m not buying it. (Neither does my hubby, just for the record.) To hear her tell it, he was reciting Shakespeare at 6 months old and winning every music competition they ever entered him in. These stories were somewhat endearing the first ten times I heard them, but I’m simply over it now.

Then there’s the weird, bad grammar talk. They say things like, “Her so pretty.” “Her is tired.” “Her is a fussy baby.” It’s nails on a chalkboard to me. I asked my husband about it and he said it’s their idea of being cute or funny or whatever. I say, let’s teach our daughter how to speak correctly before we fuck it all up.

They bought her a toy monkey which they named “Willie” after a toy monkey my husband had when he was a kid. (I thought kids were supposed to name their own toys, but I guess not.) Anyway, our daughter does really like playing with the monkey and we sometimes call her “Monkey” because she’s so silly and cute. So, when we went Christmas shopping last week, my husband bought her another stuffed animal monkey — this one wears a pink dress and cannot possibly be referred to as “Willie” unless it’s short for Willemina. It’s a harmless thing, right? I mean, the monkeys aren’t in some kind of competition. Or maybe I have it all wrong? So, his mother takes the monkey we bought and holds it up to my daughter and says, “Oh, look… here’s another monkey. Hmm. This monkey’s cute I guess, but not nearly as cute as Willie! You love Willie, don’t you, honey?” Seriously? I mean, really?!

***

Okay, so that post got interrupted, too. And my in-laws actually left this morning after seven long days & nights at our house. Yay!

Last night was the worst. I asked my husband to pick up a couple of frozen burritos and enchiladas, since we had guacamole, salsa, and tortilla chips here. I figured we could make it a Mexican night. When he got home, he asked me to prepare everything while he got changed into is PJs. I did… with no help from anyone. I set the table and prepared the food. Everyone seemed to enjoy the meal. When we were done eating, his father thanked my husband for the meal and then his mother chimed in thanking him as well, with no sense of irony whatsoever. My husband, to his credit, told them they should be thanking me because I prepared the food (yeah, and paid for it and waited on them hand and foot for the last week, too!) They looked surprised, but perfunctorily thanked me, too. So rude!

I’m going to cut this post short now so that I can move on to something a lot more positive… like how 2012 has really been the best year of my life!

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