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, therefore...it must be brief.
LABOR IS FUN.
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.
GOODBYE CASSIDY and PEYTON, HELLO MOM and DAD
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.
TIME IS A REAL BITCH
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.
TWO WORLDS COLLIDE
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 on...life 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.