A mother’s instincts

I always, always have thought my mother was overprotective.  I remember as an adult, her wanting to talk to my employer about some difficulties I was having with the company.  I actually had to work pretty hard to stop her from doing it too.

I was in my mid-20’s, and she wanted to talk to my boss.  Yep, that’s my Mom.  Wanting to make sure everything was perfect for her daughter.  Of course, I saw it as being controlling and over-protective.

And then I became a mother.  Really, from the day I found out I was pregnant, all I wanted to do was protect this little baby.  I wanted to make sure he had the best of the best.  I would scour google to see if certain foods were ok to eat during pregnancy.  My gut was wrenching for weeks after I found out that my beloved Chic-fila  lemonade was not pasteurized and posed a small, yet possible risk of listeria to harm my unborn son.  Everything I did was to protect him.

And then he was born and those protection instincts became even stronger.  All I want is for him to be happy and healthy.  I follow him around the house, just a step behind, ready to grab him if he falls while walking.  I cook homemade organic food for him to eat while grabbing processed food for myself.  His needs come before mine.  His safety is my number one priority – and his happiness is my second.

Now I understand my mother’s instincts.  I’m pretty sure I would want to make things better for my son when he’s in his mid-20s – and I would offer to do anything I could to make him happy.

 

 

via Daily Prompt: Instinct

Mindful Me

I write blog posts for my job.  Sometimes I write one’s that I really want to post on my personal blog.  Today I wrote one on mindfulness, and it really hit home with me.  More than I thought it would.

Usually in the afternoon, after work, I feed my little one, try to get him to take a nap (which is harder than you’d think) and then either finish up some chores or collapse on the couch and watch a little TV.  Today it was relatively easy to get him down for his nap – yay – and after I finished a couple of chores, I collapsed on the couch to watch some TV.  Fifteen minutes later, 35 minutes into his nap, the cries came.  And it’s never a good thing when your little one wakes up crying!

Usually when the little one wakes up crying from a nap, dread hits me as I picture the rest of the day filled with overtired crankiness.  But today, I took a deep breath, went in his room, picked him up and held him in my arms on the rocker, as I normally do to calm him down.  He immediately fell asleep.  And usually I put him down in the crib pretty quickly after he falls asleep.  9 times out of 10 the second “put down” doesn’t work and he immediately wakes up.  So I decided to just hold him and let him sleep in my arms.

I held him and let him sleep in my arms.  I wasn’t thinking about all the things I could be doing.  I wasn’t thinking about anything but holding my baby.  I looked at his sweet little face as he slept, and felt so blessed to have him.  It was such a special moment.  He’s weeks away from turning 1 – and the time has passed by so fast.  I feel like soon he’ll be a teenager and I’ll long for these moments.  I need to treasure them now, even though at times I don’t.

But today I did.  I held him.

 

 

Lack of independence

I’ve been writing a lot lately, but not publicly.  I have 3 documents saved on my desktop titled Document, Document1 and Document2.  All with thoughts I’m not sure I’d ever share with anyone.

I’ve been going through some major stuff.  Some of it I’m sure is all in my head.  But some of it I know is not.

But there are some things I don’t mind putting out there into the world.  These are the minor things that bug me, but are not causing me to write private, tear-inducing novels that will most likely end up in the trash bin on my computer.  These little annoyances I’m happy to write a blog about 🙂

I was aware that once I became a mother timetables would change.  That I would be living by an infants schedule instead of my own.  But, I didn’t really realize what that meant.  Since I saw Facebook pictures of my friends running 5K races 3 months after their child was born pushing their perfectly adorable babies in jogging strollers, and heard of Mommy groups that meet up weekly at coffee shops and lunch places, I thought it wouldn’t be so bad.  Sure being home by 7pm for bedtime might make going out to eat a rare thing, but that wasn’t so bad.  We didn’t go out to eat that much anyways.

Well, reality comes.

I rarely have time to brush my teeth, let alone put on an acceptable outfit to go for a jog.  In between diaper changes and feedings (the actual feeding takes about 10 minutes – but reflux babies require 30 minutes of sitting up after their bottle – so it’s a 40 minute ordeal at least to feed him), having tummy time and fun time, cleaning bottles, laundry, cleaning up the toys, floor and sheets that end up covered in spit up, and caring for my 15.5 year old dog, there may be some time for me to grab a cracker.  And of course I work from home too – so yeah, there’s no time to jog.

And having a baby with reflux makes public outings very scary.  Because all babies have a little bit of spit up that might dribble on their onesies and may even get Mama’s shirt, but after a quick wipe with a burp cloth, nothing is noticeable.  My kid doesn’t have dainty little spitups.  My kid has monstrous spitups that cover us – he is covered head to toe and so am I, and usually so is the chair or floor beneath us.  And these spit ups come at any time of the day, not just after a meal.  It could be 3 hours post bottle, and here comes the flood.  So going to a coffee shop or lunch place, or even to the grocery store, seems incredibly scary.

So I do most of my outings while someone else takes care of the baby.  This someone else is my Mother.  (My husband for some reason is scared of staying alone with the baby.)  So I’m not only on babies schedule, but on her schedule too.  I never have a say in when I get to go anywhere.  I’m told when.  And that makes me feel more like an infant than my son.

I know this is a tiny thing to complain about, but you never know how much you appreciate being able to go out to grab a sandwich when your fridge is empty or go meet a friend for a walk until you can no longer do so.

Independence has always been a big deal to me – and that has been taken away completely.

Who knew?

Signs & Symptoms of Infant GERD

My son was diagnosed with Gastro Esophageal Reflux (GERD) at 6 weeks old.  I felt horrible but relieved at the same time.

He would cry and cry and cry.  Constantly crying.  The only thing that would calm him down was a bottle.  And he would spit up most of what he was eating.  He would eat, spit up, cry, eat, spit up, cry and then finally fall asleep for about 10 minutes and then wake up, cry, eat, spit up, etc.  That was my life.  Babies spit up.  I knew this.  But I was confused because my son seemed to spit up everything he ate.  I read stuff online about spitting up that said that it’s probably less than it looks like and as long as your baby is gaining weight, not to worry.  Well, he was gaining weight, so I tried not to worry.

Since everything I read told me not to worry about my son, I just worried about my sanity.  I couldn’t do anything but try to soothe my crying son, feed him and then clean up his puddles of spit up, and then run to the bathroom while he was able to have a short nap.  There were times I looked at him as he cried and screamed, cried myself and just begged him to calm down.  I felt like the worst mother in the world because no matter what I did, I couldn’t soothe my baby.

I ended up figuring out all the puzzle pieces – though it took more work than I thought.

  1. I finally convinced my husband that I needed help.  And that I needed the help of my mother, who is a pediatric nurse.  This was harder than it should have been – but I’m not here to talk about that.
  2. We finally got the doctors to pay attention by describing more vividly my son’s symptoms.  Spit up and crying is not a red flag for GERD.  This is just normal baby reflux to doctors.  But things like back-arching, constant cluster feeding, neck arching – those are red flag symptoms for GERD.
  3. I finally realized my baby was sick – and I could focus on helping him get better instead of worrying about how good of a mother I was.  Of course I couldn’t soothe him with lullabies and cuddles when his throat was burning.  But I could do my best to make sure he got the right medical care.

And it’s still a journey.  And it will be a journey until finally he outgrows his GERD.  But that’s how baby GERD goes.

I didn’t know

As I went for a walk in the late-morning heat, after my podcast ended, it came.  The guilt.  The sadness.  The need to fight back tears.  This time it worked.  I didn’t cry.  Sometimes it doesn’t and the tears flow.

I have a wonderful life.  I have a great husband.  I have a beautiful baby boy.  But I didn’t know.

I knew that life would change when we became parents.  I knew things would get trickier, stickier and crazier.  But I didn’t know the big change that would come.

I read a lot.  I read professional sites.  I read blogs.  When talking about getting pregnant, actively trying, and being pregnant.  I read.  Asked friends for advice.  I left no stone unturned.  But I still didn’t know.

I knew that babies cried.  I knew that they spit-up.  I even knew that babies got reflux that caused them pain.  But I didn’t know how difficult that could be.

I didn’t know that my baby would spend the first 6 weeks of his life crying, eating and spitting up almost everything that he ate, leaving me exhausted, frustrated and baffled as to what was going on.  And I didn’t know how difficult it would be to find relief for his anguish.

I knew that babies could have head shape issues.  I knew that they could end up in helmets.  But I didn’t know that they would wedge themselves in-utero in such a weird way that would not only lead to a virtually impossible delivery, but a misshaped head that is virtually impossible to fix without interventions.

I didn’t know the guilt.  I knew I would worry.  I knew I would feel pressure.  But I didn’t know I’d feel horrible for “not growing him right”.  I know that’s not true – but the guilt still remains.

And I didn’t know the extent that outside pressures would create chaos in my should-be happy home.

I didn’t know that this would create a perfect storm of emotional upheaval for me.  I never read about babies going from formula to formula, med to med, and still not finding relief for severe reflux.  I never heard of the pain of trying to position your baby in just the right way to best “fix” their head shape problem.  And I never knew that trying to be a good Mom would cause me so much agony, let alone what other issues lie outside my motherhood journey.

So that’s why I’m restarting this blog.  I have a happy life.  I have had some severe struggles and continue to have struggles.  I know that will never end, but if I knew, maybe things could have been a little easier.  So I’m writing this so others may not say “I didn’t know”