Thursday, May 26, 2011

To Sleep, Perchance to Somethingorother...

Why is it that the good days fly by while the bad days seem to drag on forever?  When Harrison is in a great mood, feeling well, sleeping lots and smiling even more, it seems like the day ends all too soon, and we wish he'd stay awake just a little longer so we can enjoy him for an extra hour.  

However, when Harrison is pooping all over his jammies, peeing on the wall (or my hair), throwing up on the outfit I just put on him, trying to throw himself out of the bathtub and waking up every hour...those days last centuries.  Which means we have been living the past three days for nearly three-hundred years, which is exactly how old and tired I feel today.  

I remember my uncle sitting at the head of the table a few months ago, almost a year ago, about to toast us on our pregnancy and telling us, "You're going to be so tired you'll think you're going to DIE."  He said it with a lot of feeling, and I now know that when I'm telling someone the same thing someday, it will need to be said with all the same drama, if not more.  Because the words are simply not enough.  

I don't have much else to say today, I think I've made my point.  My brain can't be asked to come up with much more right now anyway.  You pregnant people out there - sleep now and ignore the discomfort you're feeling in the night, because it's heaven compared to what your nights will be like soon!

And to my sweet little Harrison...if you promise to do all your business on the inside of your diaper today and to save all your sleepiness for tonight, Mommy will buy you a puppy.  

Which reminds me, pregnant people...if you have a dog, get rid of it NOW.  More on that later.

This too shall pass.  For now, I'm looking at pictures of H sleeping to remind me what it looks like.  

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Taking a Deep Breath...

There is a baby at daycare that does not like to be held.  His name isn't Harrison. (Not AT ALL)  It's Brayden.   Brayden doesn't get a whole lot of attention, from what I've seen, probably because he doesn't require it.  When Peyton and I first heard that this baby was the complete opposite of Harrison, we thought, "Oh, what an easy baby he must be!"  But that really only lasted a couple of seconds.  Harrison may want to be held all the time, but so what?  Someday, he's not going to want to be held, he's going to want to go running as fast as he can in the opposite direction of us, giggling devilishly.  I can already tell he's going to be that way someday.  The kid can't wait to move. So if he wants to be held for the next 2-3 years, I'll oblige.  I'm not spoiling him, I'm letting him know he's secure, I'm comforting him, I'm making him feel safe and loved, and if it makes him one of the "high maintenance" kids at daycare? what?  We are paying them quite a bit, after all.  And every morning as we walk down the hall to the back of the daycare where the infant rooms are, everyone looks up to say, "Good morning, Harrison!"  Teachers I've never even seen in his room before.  Yesterday, when we picked him up, he was in a different classroom with the babies that crawl and being held by one of the teachers (from a different room) who loves Harrison so much, she comes to hold him every chance she can get.  Harrison is spoiled everywhere he goes, I guess.  

I could complain about having to get up with him last night to suction the snot out of his nose so he could breathe, or about how we have to drop him off in a classroom with the older kids while he waits for his teacher to arrive, and the older kids pester him.  I could freak out about them giving him the wrong formula yesterday morning and probably making his tummy hurt.  But the fact is, Harrison demands a lot of attention, and they are doing their best to give it to him.  He's going to get sick no matter what daycare he attends, he's going to be around kids who don't have me and Peyton as parents (and therefore aren't as cute...or clean).  He's going to have good days and bad days, fussy days and playful days.  It's all going to be ok.  He was fed the wrong formula because we walked in and told two people who have never fed him that he needed to be fed, and we did nothing to clarify what he eats, or to help get his bottle ready.  We just expected everything to go perfectly, and forgot that Harrison is not the only baby at daycare.  We said he would be hungry soon, and they jumped on the task.  

We almost lost our minds a couple of times, with two of us taking care of one baby.  These ladies have been nothing but patient and loving to every baby in Harrison's room, and there's two of them taking care of nine.  We don't have it so bad.  We just need to relax and learn to trust.  

In the meantime, I'm going to continue to do most household tasks with a baby in one arm, and to just smile when they tell me Harrison doesn't let them hold any other babies.  I bet they don't even want to.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Daycare (a.k.a. The Germ Swamp)

Last week, Harrison spent four days at daycare.  Tuesday through Friday.  By Sunday evening, he was sick and throwing up everything he ate.  We chalked it up to massive spit-up and took him to daycare on Monday morning anyway - other than the vomit, he seemed perfectly fine.  We mentioned it to the teacher and her response was, "Yeah, I think a virus was going around the babies last week, they were all spitting up like that last week."  (Now you tell us.)  Monday afternoon, he was sent home with a fever and instructions not to come back the next day (don't have to tell me twice) and to bring a doctor's note upon his return. 

For reasons I won't complain about right now, I have no sick time, no vacation time...nothing.  So it fell to daddy to stay home with Baby Harrison on Tuesday.  It broke my heart not to be the one at home with him, not because I didn't trust Peyton, but because I want Harrison to always know I'll be there when he needs me.  Well, long story short - he didn't need me.  Peyton did a fantastic job taking care of Harrison, who sort of looked like a faker by the time the day was over.  Really, as soon as we left daycare on Monday, he smiled and played and didn't fuss and was basically as happy as he's ever been.  And that continued all through Tuesday, along with a complete disappearance of the vomit episodes.  I'm telling you - he doesn't want to be there.  That's my boy!

Wednesday, it was business as usual and he returned to daycare, Peyton returned to work, and all was well again.  Until I dropped him off this morning.  As soon as I opened the car door to get him out, he threw up all over himself and his car seat.  I decided to take him in, if only to clean him up.  I changed his diaper and outfit, put his messy one in a bag to take home and told the teacher what had happened and to keep an eye on him.  She took his temperature and it was only 98.9, so I turned to leave, but the bag I had just put Harrison's dirty clothes in was gone.  I asked the teacher if she had seen it and she said no.  I asked the others in the area - all said no.  I searched everywhere I had been.  Nothing.  So....AWESOME.  Someone probably threw it away.  Jerks.  I left.  

When I got to the car, I saw H's paci sitting on the seat and ran back into the daycare to give it to him.  In the 3 minutes since I had been gone, a snotty-nosed older baby had crawled over to him was playing with his toy arch and practically climbing on top of him while the teachers just stood there watching with smiles on their faces.  Seriously?  Am I the only person with any reason around here?  I just told you he's throwing up.  GET THE SNOTTY BABY OFF OF HIM.  For argument's sake, let's say I didn't just tell you he's throwing up...GET THE SNOTTY BABY OFF OF HIM.  

Now I'm just sitting here waiting for the phone call to come pick him up again.  I'm not ashamed to admit that I'm actually kind of hoping for it.  I don't want the poor guy to feel badly, but I'm pretty sure that once he's home...he won't.  


Next subject, no segue.  I want to share this with everyone I know.  One of my childhood friends is going through, hopefully, the biggest struggle of her life.  There is an online fundraiser this weekend to help pay for in-home care, as she is unable to care for her new baby alone.  Long story short (both links below tell her story in more detail), she has severe epileptic seizures, around 25 per day, most of which cause her to lose consciousness.  Her baby's cry triggers the seizures, as does standing for longer than one minute, so she has had to rely heavily on other people to care for her baby.  One of her blog entries, titled "What's It Like to Be a Mommy?" is a must-read and makes my heart break for her.  If I couldn't comfort Harrison when he was upset or even stand at his crib to put him to bed each night, I'd probably lose my mind. 

The Foxhole Relief Project

Welcome to the Foxhole - Their Blog

Friday, May 13, 2011

Sooooo....Did You Miss Me?

Hey guess what?  I had a baby.  A loooong time ago.  Sorry about that.  It's just that he hates for me to blog, so I have to do it when he's not around, which is pretty much never.  What can I say? The kid likes attention, go figure.  Didn't get that from mom and dad, so he must have picked it up from my mom's side of the family.  

On Monday, Harrison will be celebrating his third month here in the outside world, where his living conditions are much larger and more interesting to look at.  (I tried really hard not to end that sentence in preposition, it just couldn't be avoided.)  So here is a brief rundown of the past three months.  I apologize in advance for our difference in opinion on the word "brief".  I just mean that it will not take you three months to read about the past three months, must be brief.  


Because Peyton and I chose an adorable cable-knit sweater jumper with matching cow booties and a hat in which to bring the baby home, we checked into the hospital on a freakishly warm 70-something degree day on February 16th with three back-up outfits to choose from.  No big deal though, it's not like everything he owns isn't adorable.  I digress.  I point this out though, as it set the tone for the day.  NOTHING went according to plan.

We checked into the hospital and within an hour, I was chained to a hospital bed in an ugly gown with an IV in one arm, an epidural in my spine, and starving to death while sucking ice chips and watching commercials for food I couldn't have.  It was sort of torture.  But I had it in my mind that the baby would be born any minute now, and I would be feasting on something delicious by dinnertime. Fast forward to thirteen hours later, and the scene remained the same.  No progress was being made, Harrison was in no mood to be born, and after one hour of really pointless pushing, I had a delightful little c-section.  I was pretty much sick during the whole thing, and completely out of it, thanks to a day of drugs, so when Peyton held a surprisingly giant Harrison next to my face for me to see him for the first time, I didn't get the rush of emotion everyone talks about, and was a little bit disappointed about it.  I wasn't happy to have a c-section, wasn't happy that I didn't get to see my baby be born, or hold him, or even experience it with at least a small amount of clarity.  It was not the ideal birth experience I had imagined by any stretch.  

In the recovery room, I fell into a drug-induced sleep and was barely able to glance at my aunt holding Harrison.  It wasn't until a few hours later, when a nurse woke me up at some crazy hour, that I was finally handed my baby and allowed to hold him and really look at him.  I was given about three seconds to see how beautiful and perfect he was, and then she was immediately yanking my gown open and showing me how to breast feed.  Um...can I have a minute, pervert?  No?  Ok, thanks anyway.  But fortunately she left us alone with him for about 40 minutes and that was the first time I got to really be with him.  The next few days at the hospital were insane.  It might be the worst place to be right after having a baby.  As soon as you fall asleep, caretakers-number 1 through 14 are coming in to take your blood pressure, hand you a pill, ask you about all your personal bathroom activities, bring you the baby, tell you you're doing it wrong, tell you the nurse before was wrong, tell you you're doing it differently but still wrong, taking pictures, taking the baby, delivering flowers, delivering gross meals.  It's endless.  And that's not even counting the visitors, but at least we liked them.  They were around during normal hours.  

By the time we left the hospital, we were nervous wrecks and had had about 10 hours of sleep between the two of us over the course of 4 days.  When we took Harrison to the pediatrician for his first visit at five days old, we looked like a couple of terrified homeless people and thanks to Harrison's gas, we smelled like it too.  We had been home for two nights and had taken a series of 30 minute naps and may have possibly eaten a meal.  I have no memory of that, though.  The doctor could tell we were about to lose our minds and did a wonderful job of talking us down and reassuring us that we were doing fine and were going to make it.  We FINALLY were able to relax after that.  What felt like seventeen years later, we walked into his two-week appointment looking like actual humans and telling the doctor everything was fine now.  I have no idea how we got to that point, but the good news is, it's been getting easier every day. 


There are no words in the universe that can be put together into any combination that will come close to preparing you for life after the baby is born.  "Your life will never be the same."  We heard that one a lot.  But that's like telling someone, "This may hurt a little," right before they get torn limb from limb.  All I can say is, we had no idea.  

After several weeks of spontaneous, uncontrollable crying from the both of us, it sort of started to sink in that in a way, we were in mourning.  That is hard to come to terms with when you're sitting there looking at the greatest gift of your life and knowing that nothing could ever top it.  But we were suddenly not the people we had just been a few days ago, and that is a lot to take.  It's incredibly hard to say goodbye to the person you used to be, even if who you are now is better.  That other person is the one you were the longest, after all.  Once I was able to just let that go, however, I was able to really fall head over heels in love with Harrison.  I loved him from the second I found out I was pregnant, a million times more when he was born, but with caution.  That last little part of the old me was seeing him as an obligation and it scared me.  Letting go of that old way of thinking allowed me to finally appreciate what I had. Now, I don't miss the old me in the least and wouldn't want to go there again for anything in the world. 


It is amazing to me how the days can fly by so quickly and stand still at the same time.  The scary first days at home with Harrison seem like another lifetime ago and I can hardly even remember how they felt.  Three short months ago.  At the same time, he has grown and changed and learned so much that it feels like if I don't watch him every second, I'm going to miss something important.  One day, we're planning who is going to get up in the middle of the night and then all of the sudden, there is no middle of the night, it's who's going to get him up in the morning.  Three weeks ago, I couldn't wait for him to be interested in his toys that he always seemed to just look beyond without seeing.  Now, I can't get him to look at me, because he's so busy watching cartoons, or batting the swinging toys hanging above him, or playing with his hands.  It feels like yesterday that we were rolling up the sleeves on his newborn jammies, and now I'm shopping for his clothes in the 6 month section.  All these things are happening so fast, but at the same time, it feels like years since Peyton and I were spending Harrison's first month at home together.  

I want to record every second and never forget a single thing, but the truth is, it's all becoming a blur almost as quickly as it happens.  There is a reason parents have 520 pictures of their baby doing nothing all afternoon.  The 2-hour long videos of my brother drooling in a swing now make sense to me.  There are things happening in those pictures and videos that only the parent can see.


I had to go back to work this week and now it's time for me to try to find a balance between my old life and my new one.  Unfortunately, "life" goes being bills and work and ugly co-workers and stress that has nothing to do with babies.  You know, all the stupid stuff.  In a way, it matters so much less to me, but at the same time, it's twice as important because Harrison needs us to be successful for him and to provide everything he needs.  Or doesn't need.  (Seriously, how can you not buy your kid everything he wants? It's FUN.)  But just because I have to mesh these two worlds together doesn't mean I have to like it.  Now more than ever, I think America sucks.  The insurance companies suck.  Maternity leave is a JOKE.  The country's priorities are so messed up it's embarrassing.  There is no support for families like there is in so many places around the world.   Places that know people need to relax, moms need to be at home with their babies for longer than six barely-paid weeks, and life doesn't revolve around work, it revolves around family.  But this is where we live, and now I get to pay strangers to spend more time with my baby than I do, letting him sit in a bouncy seat and stare at a wall while they calm someone else's crying kid.  

I haven't gotten to the "acceptance" stage on this one yet.  But today is Friday and I made it through my first week.  Now comes the time I live for - two days of uninterrupted fun with my new favorite person on the planet.  And the guy he replaced, of course.  Who will never really fall to second place.  He's just # 1.5 now.  Love my little family.