Posts Tagged With: babies

Mama’s Hands

Never underestimate the small moments and simple touches.

My mama’s hands are one of my fondest memories. We attended church 4 times a week. As a child sermons are naturally a bore. I would fight with my siblings to get the seat next to Mama just so I could occupy myself, holding her hand. These moments to her were probably seen as nothing more than a clingy child pulling and tugging in impatience of dismissal. As a mom I often feel these small gestures to also be a nuisance at times. What she couldn’t have know was the memories these long sermons of studying her hands meant to me.

I can recall every nook and cranny. Her fingers, long and lean, her knuckles rather large for her rather tiny framed hands, giving her an almost skeletal appearance. Her nails were filed to a oblong curve, making her slender fingers seem even longer. I would use my own nails to push back her cuticle beds and wonder why the ridges across her nails were do much deeper than my own. You could tell when it was cotton season. She didn’t make it to church as often then, but her hands much dryer than usual. They would catch as they ran across the fabric pew. She would apply more lotion during this time of year; she always had lotion in church. She would let me apply it for her. I remember every bump of the knuckle, every dry patch, the wart right by her nail bed that she didn’t like me picking at.

I would sit in service and wonder if palm reading was real. I would imagine what each line could possibly mean. Does this freckle mean she is happy? Does this line mean she will live a very long time? I would often find myself transfixed with the meaning of each line on her palm before realizing it wasn’t an appropriate thought to be entertaining within our Pentecostal church. 20150626_185947

These memories are so minute in the grand scale of things. However, they are more vivid that any birthday party, Christmas gathering, school event, or game night. These are the memories that I cling to because they do not fit the cookie cutter idea of childhood memory.
I wonder everyday. Will my boys remember my hands? Will they looks back and remember Mama always had paint up her wrists and thumbs. Mama always had fabric dye in her nail beds. Mama always had uneven jagged nails. Mama’s wedding ring was always sideways with chew marks on the bottom. Mama had scars on the backs of her hands. Mama had a faded out tattoo on her wrist.

So while we tend to focus on things like providing our children with the nicest clothes, newest toys, cleanest house, biggest parties, let’s stop and think, “Is this what they will really remember?” Maybe it’s our hands, our face, our hair, even our feet, but the best memories are the ones they create on their own.

The greatest memories come from the small moments and the simple touches.

Dirty little little chubby fingers are the sweetest!
hands

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I’m Never Leaving the House Again… with Kids

I go to the post office at least once a week. I do not like it. I do not look forward to it. My printer is broken so I have no option to ship from home, plus some things I would have to lug into there anyway. My husband, and even friends, never seem to understand the disdain in my voice when I say “Post office” so let me elaborate.

Here is the events of today’s “quick run” to our local post office.

Get up round 9, remember I HAVE to get some things shipped TODAY. Start dressing myself and kids.

Three_hours_later

I finally have tire aired up, bottle washed, kids in clothes and shoes, packages together, dogs taken out, carseats put back in the car,  and I at least have a bra on so I can say I’m dressed.

Kaston screams for the majority of our 7 minute drive.

We arrive. Paxton decides he is “stuck” to his carseat. I have to pry him out with magic while holding fatty Kaston. He has to wait for the “magic” automated doors to close so he can open them himself “magically”

Line is backed up, no problem, I need to grab a shipping envelope and label some stuff anyway. Grab what I need, no pen. No pen in the entire post office other than the ones at each teller station which are ALL full. Lord forbid you dare try to fill out anything that close next to someone checking out. People don’t want you to see them shipping socks to their grandmother or returning their overpriced shoes to the seller.

I shove my unpackaged stuff into the shipping envelope and wait. Kaston decides he needs to grab every pile of forms off the counter. 15 minutes of fighting him later Paxton decides he HAS to pee. I try in vain to get a tellers attention, I finally shout out to nearest worker “I need a potty! Kid has to go now!” She then tells me “No, sorry, we can’t let you go here” before scurrying off to the back again

What did she just say to me? MY 4 year old can’t go HERE? I have seen people allowed to use the restroom multiple times. Do they not realize I’m here all the time. I yell back to her across the room of people, “That’s fine, he’d rather pee in your parking lot anyway”

So I leave my packages on the counter and escort him outside. Once situated between my 2 open car doors he decides he doesn’t have to pee after all. False alarm.

I’m irritated to say the least. I go back in expecting the people within to have the common courtesy to let me back in my place in line, if not that then at least take pity on me. It is beyond obvious I have my hands full. Keep in mind I have Kaston’s hefty butt on my hip this entire time.

What sorcery is this? It is literally an entirely different line of people!? What happened in the 5 minutes that I was gone to move the line ahead by 10 freaking people? I waited 15 minutes and only 4 people went through!? Of course nobody cares whether they may have seen me ahead of them earlier, so it’s to the back I go…again.

At this point, Kaston, who hasn’t had spit up issues in weeks, begins spurting spit up like a garden hose. It’s all over him, me, and the counter. I find ONE single wipe in my purse and clean him and the counter best I can. I have’t even shoved the sopping cloth back into my purse before he lets out another wave, This time I manage to catch two heaping handfuls in both hands. I am looking around frantic for any sign of a paper towel. Nothing. I know I can’t even walk to the counter and ask without spilling this everywhere. I am precariously balancing him on my hip and it just won’t work. I have no choice but to say “screw it” and rub what looks like over a cup of warm spit up all down my shirt and pants legs.

During this battle, Paxton has disappeared from my side. I see him attempting to hide behind the card rack. This can only mean one thing; he is about to crap himself. I hurry him back to my side in hopes he can make it just a little longer. We wait another 20 minutes.

The teller finally calls us up, at the precise moment Kaston decided he doesn’t want to be held anymore. Crazy considering he NEVER wants to be put down when we are at home. He has started to go into that wild buck kids do. I’m flipping and switching him every which away while trying to fill out my labels, since I finally have the privilege of a pen. I attempt to sit him on the counter while I dig out my wallet, he wildly grabs at everything. knocking things over in the process. I put him back on my hip. Teller hands me ANOTHER form to fill out and asks me to fill it out to the side. This means I will have to wait AGAIN.

All the while I am trying to keep my eye on Paxton, who is pouting that I made him stand beside me. I notice he has stopped whining which means he is probably trying to poop again. Yep, pretty sure I smell it.

We finally make our exit nearly 40 minutes after arriving. I rush to the nearest drive thru to feed Paxton and pray they have coffee. Taco Bell is the closest thing. No kids menu so of course he is now crying because he didn’t get a toy with his food. My coffee tastes like the beans went through a donkey’s lower intestine before they made it into my cup. $1.79 wasted.

Kaston screams, yet again because he is strapped into his torture device of safety. He manages to fall asleep in the last 30 seconds of our ride home.

I wake him to unload, so he is screaming again. I throw Paxton on the potty to finish his crap. He is now crying and whining because he hates it. I grab Kaston back up and try to calm him back to sleep. He isn’t having it. It takes every song I know and 15 minutes of rocking to get him to stop crying. At the precise moment he stops crying, Paxton yells that he is finished.

Great…. I can’t leave him just sitting on the toilet 15-20 minutes with a crappy butt while I get this one to sleep, but if I put this one down he will start to cry again and I will have to calm him all over again. I choose the latter. No sooner has his butt hit the crib mattress, he is in tears again. I rush to wipe butt as fast as humanly possible and try not to cry.

It isn’t even 1:00 yet. Can I go back to bed.

images

Yes I am aware of the atrocious grammatical and punctual errors…. my kids are yelling again… “Ain’t nobody got time for dat proofreading!”

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Ignore all the Hype, Babies are Easy

Babies are easy

Note: Every pregnancy and every woman is different. This is written based off MY own personal experience.  I know a lot of women can not relate but I know a lot also can.

For your whole life, especially if you are a female, you have been drilled with the notion that babies are hard. Our mothers and aunts wanted to scare us into being sexually smart, and it usually works. Once we are married or out on our own it is still drilled into us so as to curb our desires for children until we are 100% for certain that we are ready. Nothing wrong with that thinking, but I’m glad to say babies are not hard.

Now before you read further keep in mind when I reference Baby I am refercencing a healthy infant. My first son had so many digestive issues that were not resolved until after his first 4 months of life. Believe me, baby was excruciatingly hard.

So….. now for the bombshell. Babies are not hard…… Motherhood is.

A healthy baby will sleep the majority of the first few months. They will eat and poop and just want your touch. The late night feedings are the closet thing to hard they will be. You will be tired and groggy and wonder why that thing is still crying, you just held it for at least 20 minutes! During the day they will sleep, you will go about your chores, budget your bills, do the laundry, only now your stopping to feed/play with/hold/rock baby. I see that as you now have a mandatory sit down break every 2-4 hours.

So where is the negative? Why not just pop out kids to your hearts content?

Because Motherhood is Hard

Delivery. I am sad to I was never able to deliver vaginally, I can not speak on the behalf of those who have. I can only offer them an envious glare. Both my boys were cesarean sections. Maybe I am weak, though I have always had a good tolerance to pain or illness, but both surgeries where nearly unbearable.

I was fortunate enough the first go-round to pass out from the combination of an epidural (I was trying to go for vaginal) and the surgery meds.  My second delivery I was only given the spinal. I did not fully go numb and when the doctor began cutting I screamed. I do not remember the majority of this, thank Yahweh! After my outburst on the table I was given a sedative that sent my mind on a drug induced adventure that lead me from my home to a delivery table in a strange futuristic sci-fi laboratory. My mind really screwed with me there. I woke up 20 minutes later thinking I had been out for days.

Once the recovery room stopped spinning and I realized my husband was not reading my mind and that I was in fact actually using my mouth to talk, I started to worry. I though I had been out for days and I needed to know where my baby was. However, it would be nearly 24 hours before I ever laid my eyes on him.

I couldn’t feel my legs for the next hour and would not be allowed to walk till the next day. Standing up felt like my guts would fall out the hole in my lower abdomen. I vomited almost immediately after the feeling came back and the pain… oh my the pain! Surgery also causes trapped gasses to move around in you. I don’t mean “just fart it out” gas, I mean holding my shoulders because they are the only thing more painful than an toothache and earache combination.

You deal with the gas for a for a few days to a week then you deal with the incision another 6 weeks. The first 3-4 weeks I couldn’t laugh, cough, sneeze, gag, strain, yell, nothing! I am on week 5 as I write and still have to hold my incision to cough and brace myself for pain when I sneeze. Your doctor also forbids you to drive at least the first two weeks.

Delivery……. is hard.

Hormones. From the moment you get off the delivery table those invisible chemicals of destruction set on fire. You think the pregnancy hormones were bad, HA! Now, if your bundle of joy comes out all pink and snuggly, these hormones will bring you tears of joy and elation. Those tears however, can easily turn into worry, panic, and the realization of what you have just gotten yourself into.

If your bundle of joy comes out and is in distress or unprepared those hormones can send you into panic. As if having a sick child isn’t scary enough, they make your mind feel like it is suffocating under the overwhleming negative thoughts of “what if?”. When I first saw my second son, hooked to wires and tubes, I had a brief moment of “I can finally lay eyes on my child” followed by a 2 week long worry of “Why is this happening to my innocent child?”

Our first encounter

Our first encounter

I began to think “What I had done wrong?”, blaming myself for trying to induce labor by walking, having sex, getting a pedicure. Nurses and family assured me that nothing would have made him come unless he was ready, it didn’t help. I was discharged and sent home, while leaving my new baby at the hospital under the watchful and caring eyes of the NICU doctors and staff; leaving the hostpital with a diaper bag where tiny outfits, blankets, and socks, were all still neatly folded in the bottom.

After coming home, without the celebration of baby, I recall being so angry at myself and my body. My first pregnancy lead to me going into early labor at only 28 weeks. I was put on meds and full bed rest to wait out the rest of my weeks. The memory of that failed attempt at a healthy pregnancy and the premature baby laying at the hospital led me to hate my body for not being able to correctly do what a woman is suppose to do. I kept asking myself why, of all things on earth, the most natural of them, I could not do right. That kind of anger will eat away at you.

I began pumping my breast the first day in the hospital, though I could not feed my baby at the breast it did offer me pride and comfort in knowing I was providing for him with the best there was to offer. My supply came in early and plentiful. I continued to pump the entire 13 days of his stay. Driving 2-3 times a day to see my boy and deliver his milk. I remember the pride I felt when the nurses jokingly told me “Please, no more, we have plenty as we are running out of freezer space”. A few days before his discharge he performed a perfect latch. After a failed attempt at breast feeding my first, I just knew this time I had it.

This glory was short lived. After working with a lactation consultant doing pre and post feeding weigh-ins, we discovered he was what they refer to as a lazy sucker. He could latch but couldn’t suck enough out to constitute a meal. It was a downer but I was okay; I had a great supply and could pump away. I figured I would continue to let him try at the breast, then offer a bottle of reserved milk, and finish off with pumping out another 3-6 ounces. This feeding process took well over an hour to accomplish, but the site of a freezer and fridge full of milk kept me going.

Less than 3 days after he came home things changed. I was pumping less and less each session. My abundance was dwindling. I switched pumps, let him latch more, took herbal supplements, drank herbal teas, even gave beer a try. I talked with multiple consultants and nurses and researched every breast feeding site and forum I could find. His appetite was growing faster than I was pumping. It took a little over a week for him to burn through my reserves and catch up to my pumping. We had no choice but to drop the “F” bomb… formula.

Now I am not judging anybody who uses formula and there are many reasons why somebody would do so, but it is not for my liking. My first son’s constant digestive issues were only worsened with each formula we tried. I wanted to avoid it like the plague. Sure enough within 2 days of supplementing with baby number two he went from happy and content to much more frequent crying and wanting to be held. Within the last 3 days I have all but completely run out. He has lost all interest in even latching on. Hormones saw this coming a week ago and crept back in.

That same hate I felt for my body only 2-3 weeks earlier hit me like a semi truck. The 2 most natural things for a woman to do and provide, I had failed. I wondered why, if I couldn’t do the things that are required of a mother, God would allow me to be a mother. My mind imagined what if? What if he can’t stomach formula? What if a time came I could not access formula? What if? What if? What if? I continued to struggle with the pump in hopes that more sessions and longer session times would increase my supply. I continued to let him latch for as long as he could before becoming exhausted and wanting the bottle. It felt like I was always in my rocking chair with suction on my nipple. I convinced myself it was better for me to stress about providing for my healthy baby than stressing because he was sick without it.

I broke down. I sat in my bath tub, allowing my breast to soak in the hottest water I could stand, massaging and placing them directly in front of the water jets, anything to promote a better flow. All the while crying, beating myself up for failing, remembering the words of the nurse who told me “I really admire you, most give up”. I was feeling as though I would not only be failing my child but I would be seen as a quitter by my fellow pro-milk moms.

Hormones, they made the worst of a bad situation. All the breast feeding pages and groups I had joined online were now a constant reminder of my failure. One by one I removed each of them as the constant photos of smiling babies on the breast made me angry with envy. My nursing cover, that laid gently across the back of my glider rocker, now lies in a crumpled mess in the bedroom floor.

Hormones…. are hard

Self Esteem. I have never considered myself Miss America but I am instilled with a healthy level of confidence. I can embrace my tiny chin, large forehead, thin hair, pale complexion, and I love it all.

I wish I could say your body has settings like the personalized driver settings in a car. When baby comes out it doesn’t recognize non-pregnant mom and adjust to her original setting. There is extra everywhere. That adorable belly is now a sagging piece of skin. In some cases, what was once silky smooth now looks like purple and pink claw marks. People will tell you they are battle scars and be proud of them. I’m no idiot; they make you feel ugly. Your hair, though fixable, will sit in a mess on your head because you are too tired to try or your recovery makes reaching any higher than your nose painful. You haven’t been able to reach your legs, much less your crotch, for weeks and you will hate to see what they look like. After a c-section you will catch a glimpse of your no longer bandaged incision and feel like frankenstein. The clothes you wore before you were pregnant are still much too small and your maternity clothes are much too large.

It’s one thing to know you look a hot mess but it’s completely different to feel ugly. When you feel a hot mess you can dress it up and paint it on. When you feel ugly, no amount of makeup or clothes will take it away. Those same hormones will only add to your already low tolerance for the mirror. The first time I stood up completely naked from my tub, I had no choice but to be face to face with a mirror with full view of the damage. Once again, I cried. Be prepared it happens a lot after baby.

All women want to feel wanted, they want to feel sexy. You see this often in “loose” women; we say they are seeking attention for their low elf esteem. Married women are no different. There have been days of recent I just wanted my husband to touch me. I have gotten internally angry with him after days have gone by with nothing more than a good bye kiss in the morning. I painted my face, squeezed into the most decent clothes I could fit in. Why does he not want me!? Am I not sexy in his eyes anymore? What am I doing wrong?

Then he tried. He attempted to touch me in a sensual way and I swatted him away. WHY! Here he was doing what I had been wanting all this time and I swatted away his advances. In that moment, when his hand brushed against me, I suddenly felt every insecurity I had experienced in the past weeks. “I am gross”, is all I could think. I know I have stretch marks where he use to only feel smooth skin. I know I haven’t been able to take care of my nether regions. I know there is a over hanging belly hiding a crooked and red still healing scar. I know my breast will probably leak on him. I know if I allow him to study my skin and face closely he’ll see the dry skin, the stress induced acne, the over grown eye brows. I know I am still limited in my physical activity and he will think he is hurting me by even the slightest movements.

It is a vicious cycle. Why would he even attempt to make advances if I only push him away? Why do I feel this overwhelming need for his attention to feel better about myself but feeling worse when I get it? Why am I crying to be held but disgusted to be touched?

Self Esteem… is hard.

Pride and Paranoia. Don’t lie. We have all judged that friend who asks for a weekend baby sitter more than once in a 2 month period. We say “She needs to be home with her kids anyway!”. What do we know? She may be with her kids sun up to sun down sunday through friday, maybe her friends have finally asked her out again for a kid free night.

We say we don’t care what people think of us, but the moment a stranger compliments your parenting skills, you will change your mind. Nobody wants to be considered a bad parent. We are already paranoid that we aren’t good enough. To be called a bad mother would probably be the biggest injury to my pride. I am paranoid that any slip up will lead me to looking like that girl we are all silently and not-so-silently judging on our news feed.

We get prideful. We are scared to ask for help. the whole time you are pregnant you hear “Don’t be afraid to ask for help.” which should be true but isn’t. If you want to remain prideful you have to suck it up and deal with it. It shouldn’t be this way. Every parent needs a break, maybe not every weekend but at least once a month would be nice. The minute people hear you’ve left your kids for the second time in 3 months with a relative, you become considered a selfish parent.

Like I said, I am guilty too. I think my judgement comes from another place however. I am jealous. I am jealous that I do not have family closer. I am jealous that I can not leave my kids without a good cause without immense guilt. Jealous that I feel it is unfair to leave my kids with other people. Feeling these things doesn’t make them all true but you can’t help how you feel. My pride is often to scared to ask for help.

I am paranoid. Scared I will wear out my “help me” card. This fear left me in a quite a odd position recently. My step daughter had been staying with us to help with the new baby. I felt I was asking for her help much much too often. I have every reason to need help. Telling someody else to feed your baby while you cook supper for the family seems ok but still feels wrong. So when she decided to sleep in one morning I didn’t want to bother her. She had been helping enough already and I was worried she would get tired of it. Then the urge to go to the bathroom hit me. After a C-section, straining is incredibly difficult, so when the need to go hits you, you take it and take it fast. It just so happened to come during feeding time. In my prideful and paranoid state, I let her sleep. 10 minutes later I found myself in the tiny alcove in my bathroom, only large enough to hold one toilet and one person. There I sat with an infant in my lap, holding a bottle in my only free hand, a toddler, in true toddler fashion, at my side shoving an empty sippy cup in my face and dangerousy close to my infants head. With the toddler came his entourage of my small hairless dog and his dad’s 70lb American bully. There the 5 of us were in this tiny alcove when I realized…. how am I going to wipe my own butt?

Don’t worry, I made it out with a clean butt and with the realization that I had to overcome my fear of asking for help and just wake the girl up next time.

Pride and Paranoia…. are hard

Leaving the House. Baby, like I said, is easy. Eat. Sleep. Poop. Love. His things are not easy. Your infant will only weigh a few lbs, but those lbs become tons when you are trying to pack him everywhere. So you have to heave around the bulky complicated stroller or invest in a sling that will make you think you are killing your kid everytime you put them in it. The infant carrier, or carseat, will make your 7lb baby now feel like a akwardly shaped 40lb burden. I relate hauling around a carseat to carrying a a very wide bucket full of water while being sure not to spill a drop.

The diaper bag, you will always over pack it and yet always forget one important thing you need. If you leave it in the car you will most definitely need it. If you pack it around with you, you won’t need it at all. You will eventually no longer carry a purse period because seriously, who has that many hands.

On long drives you will be ever so cautious constantly checking the back seat, of which you can’t see your child because he is turned backward. When driving alone without a fancy backseat mirror you will pull over just to check they are positioned ok. You will stop to feed your baby much like you stop to feed yourself, because, baby is easy.

So this precious few lbs of easy to manuever human being is the least of the problem. It is the 800lbs of equipment that will make you wish to never leave home again.

Leaving the house… is hard.

The Culmination of all this. After the baby is home, the routine is set, and the new normal sets in, it can become anything but. I am sure if you have made it this far that it is no secret I am suffering from post partum. There is no shame in it and recogniizing it for what it is helps to understand that all these things I feel are not as real as they seem. They are only my hormones playing against me.

I consider myself blessed this go round. After my first pregnancy I spiraled completely out of control. I said things to my infant that a mother should never say to a child of any age. I wrongfully blamed him for all my problems. I did not abuse my child but I can never take back the way I felt about him. I can never escape the guilt of my lack of affection for him. He was beautiful and precious and perfect and I couldn’t see it. You never get that time back.

My firstborn

My firstborn

I have but one regret in my entire life; I regret not getting the help I needed sooner. When he was just crawling, I was so busy wrapped up in house work and errands that he wasn’t gettin any attention. He started to cry and follow me around the house. In hindsight it was precious. He was crawling all over our big old house following me like a puppy just wanting love. I couldn’t see it. This was the day that I will never forget.

Had I been in a healthy frame of mind it still would have been stressful but the culmination of all things listed above created the perfect storm. He was right at my heels, crying to be picked up and I snapped. I, an adult, standing feet above him, began yelling. Not just the yell an angry mom does, but the scream of a seriously sick individual. I just screamed “What! What do you want!? Why can’t you leave me alone!” along with things I can’t even remember. Things I do not wish to ever remember. He stopped. He froze. The look of terror I put on his face will always haunt me. It was a look that caused me to freeze as well. I just stopped. I scooped him up and cried like a baby, apologizing to this tiny child for reasons he couldn’t even understand.

I called my mom as soon as I could catch my breath, “Come now, I am scared and you need to get Paxton”. I just knew from that moment on that he would hate me, fear me, run from me. I cried for days after the incident. My huband couldn’t understand why, but I couldn’t and still will never be able to express how violently my words came out or how scared, a child that had never experienced fear before this point, looked.

My mom did come, right away. She knew exaclty what I meant when I said I was scared. No, I wasn’t afraid I would physically assault my child by any means. I was afraid I would do permanant damage to our realtionship. I was afraid I would hurt myself out of guilt. I was just all around scared… of being a mother.

I am very happy to say that I did eventually get help. My son was over a year old before we ever bonded. I have very few photos of us even together though I was with him everyday. Now, you would never in a million years have ever thought any differently. He is my world and though he will always be a daddy’s boy he has mommy’s heart as well.

Even if you don’t suffer post partum, the stress or excitment of baby alone can wear on your marriage. Be prepared. Prepared to be exhausted and snappy with your husband. He is only human and eventually he will snap back. You are both tired, while you suffer from those hormones he is stressing about providing for a growing family. Dealing with a stressed out husband can be as bad, if not worse, than dealing with a crying baby. Men have needs too and men can become depressed just like women. Keep him in mind, they carry their stress much differently.

The Culmination of all this… is hard

So, now you see why I say babies are easy. They are the least complicated piece of a very large and complicated puzzle. Dealing with yourself will be the hardest part of raising your baby. You are creating a person and a life but you are creating a mother first.

Creating a Mother… is hard

Both my boys now

Both my boys now

Categories: Parenting | Tags: , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

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