It seemed appropriate given that I study children’s literature, that I use a picture from a kids’ book to describe my life. It’s from Esphyr Slobodkina’s book “Caps for Sale” and illustrates how I feel most days lately. In trying to balance graduate school, an international move, being a new mom, having a decent house, eating/showering myself, and taking care of my ousted furry firstborn (border collie), it feels like my hats have to be stacked like this picture if I want to get anything done. (You may ask why in the midst of this craziness I am blogging. The answer is I have no idea, but it is likely procrastination.)
The photo to the left sums up my days. Coffee that has gone cold, a baby who sleeps only while touching me, a laptop with thesis research on all the tabs that aren’t Google results of random parenting questions, and a notebook scattered with thesis jottings and schedules of house showings (the joys of moving #475: having to keep your house clean for strangers).
I love being a mom. Little dude’s smiling face (yes, I know it’s probably gas, but it’s so darn cute) is the best part of my day. I just have to make it through the turmoil of this move and then focus on my thesis until September. I know life never slows down; the crazy just evolves into something new. I am going to 100% — (pause for diaper and outfit change; resume typing with one hand while feeding baby with the other) — anyway, I will 100% miss this time once it’s gone, but it is a little more chaotic than I anticipated. Please forgive infrequent posting. I suspect that will be the new norm.
Oh and did I mention I have horrid allergies and my sneezing frequently wakes baby? It’s great. 😉
Three weeks ago, my world changed forever. I became responsible for the very life of the cutest little boy you can imagine. He has his daddy’s big blue eyes and my dark hair. His birth was dramatic; uncomfortable, scary, and almost life-threatening at points. It was 100% worth it. This is his birth story.
The day of my 39 weeks check up, my nurse noted I had high blood pressure, a first for my pregnancy. It was high enough to throw a red flag and she asked me to come back the following day (a Friday) and retest. If it was still high, they would talk about inducing me. My husband was away on a last minute business trip. He was due back Sunday. I asked if I could wait the weekend, come in Monday, so the baby’s dad could be there. The OB agreed.
Sunday night my husband came home and first thing Monday I was in the OB being tested for preeclampsia. It all happened so fast and before I knew it I was on fluids in the Labor and Delivery portion of the hospital and they were putting in a Foley bulb (ugh, they are from hell) to force me to dilate. At 39 weeks 4 days, I wasn’t dilated in the least. The midwife putting in the bulb said I might have “mild cramping”. Understatement of the year. The ensuing contractions had me in tears on the way home. I was to come back in the morning for my induction, at which point I should be dilated to 4 or 5 cm.
At 5 o’clock the next morning, my husband, mother, younger sister and I packed up and headed to the hospital. I was still in pain, but less so once the Foley bulb naturally came out around 1 a.m. By 7:30 I was hooked up to a variety of IVs and drugs and by 8:30 my water broke. By 4 p.m. I had only progressed to 6cm dilated. The doctors were concerned. I was groggy from the drugs, but I could tell by their faces, and my family’s demeanor, that something was wrong. Later I learned my blood pressure was so high I was nearing the level of stroke/seizures. At the time though, I just wanted my baby out. The contractions were coming fast, with only a few seconds of rest in between. I was in and out of a dream-like state (honestly, it felt like being drunk) and my biggest concern was having the baby before I had to switch my female doctor for the male doctor scheduled for night shift. That was a lost cause, but the doctor I had been laboring with gave me an epidural before she left.
Another 8 hours of contractions left me snarky and sarcastic with my patient team of doctors and nurses. I didn’t blame my husband, hit anyone, or scream obscenities. I said a very bad word one time, when the baby’s shoulders finally came out, but otherwise I was just generally a feminist who was too scared of accidentally pooping to push properly. (Yeah, that was hands-down the worst part; fear of pooping/feeling like you were gonna. I didn’t, but still. It left my baby pinned under my pelvic bone for 6 hours and gave him an impressive conehead, according to the staff’s notes).
At 11:51 p.m., 34 hours after my contractions began and 9 minutes before his due date, Ronan was born.
For the first 24 hours of his life, I was on a magnesium IV and still felt out-of-it. My husband was absolutely smitten with our son, but I still felt groggy and disconnected. At midnight on Wednesday, they turned off the magnesium and it was like magic. My head cleared and I was IN LOVE with this tiny child. I had cared for him the day before (even on drugs, I love kids and knew he needed me), but – off the magnesium – I relished every moment. Thursday was a great day. I had meals delivered, a fantastic nursing staff at the touch of a button, and my husband brought me Starbucks iced tea throughout the day. Best of all, I had my tiny son to cuddle and love on.
We went home Friday afternoon, though they almost kept me another day. I have never been so scared to be responsible for a baby, despite a decade of babysitting and having four younger siblings. I am eternally grateful that my mother flew out to stay for three weeks. She made the transition much easier.
So here we are, three weeks later, and finally settling into a routine. I have officially joined the mommy club and it is my favorite thing ever. 🙂