Thursday, May 27, 2010

Never let go

Last night, I screamed like a girl when I saw a giant bug, and my girlish scream woke up Brady. Usually, he'll go right back to sleep or I go in and shush him and maybe pat his bootie. He kept smiling at me and I had the strongest urge to cuddle with him even though it was time for me to head to bed.

I picked him up and he closed his eyes, and as he drifted off a little smile came across his chubby cheeks. He used to do this quite often when he was a newborn-kind of like the time between awake and dream time is blissful for him. He continued to smile in his sleep, and as I stared at this kid I was holding, kissing his cheeks, and taking in his sweet smell, I remembered the first time I got to hold him.

The first night, I was wheeled down to the NICU to see him-bed and all! I wasn't allowed to hold him as they needed to keep him still and calm as possible so that the tear in his lung wouldn't expand, or his lung collapse. Even though I was heavily medicated, I wanted to hold him close.

The next day, I waited nervously to go see him. My nurse was worried because my fever was still high, and I looked like Casper the friendly ghost but she finally helped me into the wheelchair and wheeled me down to the Special Care Nursery.

It had been about 24 hours since I had seen him and I hadn't even got to hold my baby boy yet. She looked at me as she pushed me down the long narrow hall and asked me, "Are you excited?" I said 'yes' but really I was so nervous.

She parked my wheelchair next to an incubator, and I saw the first glimpse. They handed him to me and his big eyes looked right at me like he was saying, 'about time mom!' It was right then that I realized I wasn't nervous or scared even with all the wires attached to his baby feet, and the giant IV on his tiny fingers. We did some Kangaroo care and I fed him. I just held him close for a while, and almost two hours later, the nurses had to talk me into leaving. I kept looking at his tiny hands, tiny little nose, and I didn't want to let go.

I looked down at the baby I was now holding. He has grown from this tiny little seahorse inside my growing belly to this tiny being laying in an incubator and finally to this little boy who is full of personality and life.

....I still don't want to let him go.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Seriously SEVEN months???

Dear Brady;
As mommy writes this, she is literally in disbelief that you are already seven months old. Little man, this month has been full of so many firsts for you! Pulling up to stand, scooting around the room, rocking back and forth trying to crawl, babbling, trying new foods (the mesh teether and peaches=heaven in your eyes), mommy's first mother's day, first time sitting in the shopping cart like a big boy, and sitting in the high chair at lunch with mommy!

Yesterday, your cousin Bree watched you. She went in to get your after your nap and boy did you surprise her!

You are THIS close to crawling. You are a strong little guy. You are not just strong physically but you are also strong willed. You are so determined. Like I said, you are something else! You catch on to new things so fast that you surprise us all and we are still trying to catch up with you!

You get this look on your face (the one above) where you are just trying so hard to do something, and you eventually get it, or scream instead :)

You crack me up because you have the biggest expressions that come off those chubby little cheeks. Your bright eyes light up at the littlest things that it makes mommy find pleasure in the little things in life. Your eyes get wide and you squeal in delight when i run the bath water. The cutest thing is that you take your little fist and shake it in pure excitement. Life is so simple in your eyes and it truly makes me love life more!

Just the simple act of putting your chubby little toes in the grass makes you happy! See those adorable little thighs? I could tickle them over and over just to hear you giggle (your toes, belly, neck, legs--see a trend? You are one ticklish little boy!) It is pure bliss! By the way, you currently weight 20 pounds, 11 ounces, big boy!!! So big in fact, we have to get you a new carseat!
You love people. You smile at all the girls, and study the boys. Every time I take you somewhere, there is at least one person who talks to you and you strut your stuff, and show them that dimply smile! Of course, your favorite two people just happen to be your wonderful daddy and amazing mommy! You love to laugh our kisses, and tickles but you think our silly faces are so funny!!!
You are so curious. You grab everything (including mommy's hair, ow!) and study things so intently. Your favorite thing is still the dog. You could stare at her for days if I would let you. You also love to watch daddy. Just watch him and smile at him. BUT.....nothing compares to being cuddled up with mommy. When you raise up those chubby little arms towards me, my heart melts. I scoop you up and you dig your face into me and give me the biggest squeeze. Your baby hugs are the best parts of my day. Well, besides your giggles and smiles!

You amaze me everyday little man. Your newest feat is talking. You are babbling up a storm and say, Da-da, and ba-ba. Daddy swears you are calling him!

You do something new almost every day! Every month, I say I can't believe how big you are getting and while I am sad to see you grow so fast, I am more than excited to watch you become the little person you are. It's hard to believe in 5 months, you will have your first birthday. Mommy is already planning on bringing the tissues! It is amazing to think that just a few months ago you could not even roll over! Now, you are on the go! I just hope I can keep up with you!
Brady, we love you!
Oh, and PLEASE be careful! All this moving is going to give mommy some gray hairs!!

Monday, May 17, 2010

You know your a mom.....

You know your a mom when............
When you leave your child to take a shower and you come back to see your child jumping up and down in the exersaucer, dancing in his own poop.

Yep. True story. I can't make this crap up. No pun intended.

When your son pukes you catch it in your hand like it's no big deal and your friend who has no kids looks at you in utter disgust.

When the 26th of each month rolls around, you find yourself sad that your child is another month older, but excited for what is to come.

You truly know what sleep deprived is when you lock your keys in a car that has technology that doesn't allow that to actually happen, and the same day you realize you put on your underwear on backwards, and you have spit up on your pants.

You thought your heart went to mush when you saw your husband with a tiny newborn he had no idea how to hold. Just wait until he gets old enough to laugh at his silly faces. Then, you will know mush.

You watch your child playing with his own shadow and it makes you smile. Not because it's a funny sight but because you love to see him exploring the world around him and realize that he just discovered something new.

That the babyproofing aisle in Babies R US can bring on a full fledged PANIC attack.

You hear your child babbling while he is playing and you look at yourself and find yourself in tears because you can't believe your tiny baby is growing so fast.

You hold your arms up just so he can hold his up to you.

The time that you consider 'sleeping in' is a time that you used to think was SO early.

The best part of your day is when you wake up and pick him up after work because the look on his face makes your heart melt.

Those people you couldn't believe left the house like that? Well, you ARE those people.

You look at your life now, and you cannot believe how much it has changed. Those Johnson commercials were right when they said, 'a baby changes everything.' From the time you get up to the time you go to bed, to all that is in between. Your whole life has changed and you wonder when it happened because you never noticed it, and you can't remember your life before him. You just notice that your heart has grown, and there is one tiny being that you can thank for that.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

How to help

This week, came so fast. This week, they were supposed to get married.

Once right after it happened, someone told me not to do something because it would make her sad. Grief sucks. Loosing someone sucks but people want to tiptoe over it all the time. It happened and everything makes her sad, but not acknowledging it was like not acknowledging his memory.

About a month ago, my friend said that people react to grief like it is contagious. Like it's not something you should talk about but really talking about him makes her feel better, makes us feel better. Not talking about him is making it seem like he never existed. So, we talk about him all the time. We laugh at happy memories, and a lot of the time it makes us sad.

All people react to grief differently. Just be there-to listen, to laugh, to cry. It didn't just help my friend, but my husband, myself.

A friend sent this to me right after it all happened. She found it on a blog she read and I wish I could give credit to who wrote it but it is so well written, and in a way validates what I just said. If anything I can give to you out of all of this is a way to help someone you love. Don't tiptoe. Please, don't tiptoe.

Someone I love said it so perfectly; 'talking about him makes me feel better, makes me remember, makes me feel close to him again.'

HOW YOU CAN HELP ME (Writer unknown)
Please talk about my loved one, even though he is gone. It is more comforting to cry than to pretend that he never existed. I need to talk about him, and I need to do it over and over.

Be patient with my agitation. Nothing feels secure in my world. Get comfortable with my crying. Sadness hits me in waves, and I never know when my tears may flow. Just sit with me in silence and hold my hand.

Don't abandon me with the excuse that you don't want to upset me. You can't catch my grief. My world is painful, and when you are too afraid to call me or visit or say anything, you isolate me at a time when I most need to be cared about. If you don't know what to say, just come over, give me a hug or touch my arm, and gently say, "I'm sorry." You can even say, "I just don't know what to say, but I care, and want you to know that."

Just because I look good does not mean that I feel good. Ask me how I feel only if you really have time to find out.

I am not strong. I'm just numb. When you tell me I am strong, I feel that you don't see me.

I will not recover. This is not a cold or the flu. I'm not sick. I'm grieving and that's different. My grieving may only begin 6 months after my loved one's death. Don't think that I will be over it in a year. For I am not only grieving his death, but also the person I was when I was with him, the life that we shared, the plans we had for watching our children and grandchildren grow, the places we will never get to go together, and the hopes and dreams that will never come true. My whole world has crumbled and I will never be the same.

I will not always be grieving as intensely, but I will never forget my loved one and rather than recover, I want to incorporate his life and love into the rest of my life. He is a part of me and always will be, and sometimes I will remember his with joy and other times with a tear. Both are okay.

I don't have to accept the death. Yes, I have to understand that it has happened and it is real, but there are some things in life that are just not acceptable.

I need to know that you care about me. I need to feel your touch, your hugs. I need you just to be with me, and I need to be with you. I need to know you believe in me and in my ability to get through my grief in my own way, and in my own time.

Please don't say, "Call me if you need anything." I'll never call you because I have no idea what I need. Trying to figure out what you could do for me takes more energy than I have.

So, in advance, let me give you some ideas:
(a) Bring food or a movie over to watch together.
(b) Send me a card on special holidays, his birthday, and the anniversary of his death, and be sure to mention his name. You can't make me cry. The tears are here and I will love you for giving me the opportunity to shed them because someone cared enough about me to reach out on this difficult day.
(c) Ask me more than once to join you at a movie or lunch or dinner. I may so no at first or even for a while, but please don't give up on me because somewhere down the line, I may be ready, and if you've given up then I really will be alone.
(d) Understand how difficult it is for me to be surrounded by couples, to walk into events alone, to go home alone, to feel out of place in the same situations where I used to feel so comfortable.

Please don't judge me now - or think that I'm behaving strangely. Remember I'm grieving. I may even be in shock. I am afraid. I may feel deep rage. I may even feel guilty. But above all, I hurt. I'm experiencing a pain unlike any I've ever felt before and one that can't be imagined by anyone who has not walked in my shoes.

Don't worry if you think I'm getting better and then suddenly I seem to slip backward. Grief makes me behave this way at times. And please don't tell me you know how I feel, or that it's time for me to get on with my life. What I need now is time to grieve.

Most of all thank you for being my friend. Thank you for your patience.

Thank you for caring. Thank you for helping, for understanding.

Thank you for praying for me.

And remember in the days or years ahead, after your loss - when you need me as I have needed you - I will understand. And then I will come and be with you.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

(Insert picture of light bulb above my head!)

Thanks for sharing some of your fussy baby stories. I know a lot of parents deal with colic, reflux (a book I am reading say 1 in 10 babies have it to some extent) and just generally fussy babies. It's not like I am the only one in the world that dealt with a fussy baby but when you have a baby that cries a lot, sometimes that is how it feels. Plus, noone really talks much about it, noone ever says, 'Yep, I have a really fussy baby' I only hear people say, "oh, he is good good." So, then it makes you want to wonder is my baby, bad?

Then you hear another mom say that her sweet baby slept through the night since he came out the womb. Not something a sleep deprived mom wants to hear. A friend of ours baby was over a while ago and he did nothing but sleep. Hardly cried. I thought, 'so, that is what a normal baby does, huh?" Seems kinda boring :) especially when you are used to a newborn that didn't sleep more than 30 minutes the whole day, and still didn't sleep much at night. I wondered who ever coined the term, 'slept like a baby!'

I am currently reading a book called, "The Sleep Lady's Good Night, Sleep Tight," and she made a HUGE point that really clicked with me and with our sleep issues.

Babies with reflux sometimes are so busy projectile vomiting or uncomfortable that they miss out on the chance to learn how to self soothe and fall asleep on their own. S0, we must teach them. It was like a huge light bulb went off in my head and it gave me the reason I was looking for since he first fought that first nap.

Brady's reflux is still a huge issue in our lives and it only makes sense that it is disrupting his sleep. Tuesday night, he slept from 1030-7! Then, the next night, right back up again 2-3 times, and 5+ times the night before. Inconsistent is his middle name, well, not really, it's Robert.

You know what else the book recommends when you have a child who doesn't sleep? A good support system. Someone to talk to about it. Luckily, I know a few moms that have gone through it all with me and we all wonder when our kids will get 'it'. They are some of the most amazing moms I know, and do not think I could have made it through the past six months without them. Each of us brings something different to the table, and each one is an amazing mother. Sometimes when we are having a particularly rough night, I think that maybe our babies are all up together, crying in cahoots, and you know, it makes it a bit easier sometimes. Just being able to talk to someone who understands make is so much easier but we found ourselves cheering each other on!!

So, ladies, you know who you are, and I wanted to thank each one of you for being the mommies you are!!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The first six months

I wanted to share this not to buy sympathy, or scare moms-to-be, but give give you the real truth. Being a mother is not easy but it is rewarding in more than one fat little way. I wanted other moms who are going through it to know that they are not alone. You can make it through too. You ARE an amazing mom.

As Mother Day came and went, and after Brady turned another month older, I have found myself reflecting upon the last six months.

I read some of my posts, and I'll be honest. I can't remember some of it. To be perfectly honest, I can't remember A LOT of it. Much of what I wrote was sugar coated. Do not get me wrong, I love being a mom. He is my entire world, and has change my world in a way I never thought could be humanly possible. The love I feel could not be known but only by a mother herself.

Looking back, the past six months have been the most amazing, yet the most difficult journey I have ever faced or may ever face.

When we brought Brady home, I was so in awe. Incredibly smitten, head-over heels in love! Knowing the outcome could have been much worse, I didn't want to let him go, and wanted to overdose him in kisses, and snuggle him until he was 25. Those first two weeks were the honeymoon phase. We would stare at each other, and he'd make his silly noises. Then, he would cry and I'd think it was cute.

Then, reality, or as I call it, reflux kicked in around 4 weeks. He cried all the time. Not just that typical newborn cry but whole body shaking red faced cry. I cried a lot. I was exhausted, and knowing my baby was in pain made me hurt too. I felt always on guard. My husband wondered what was wrong with him. I wondered too. I did a lot of research. Cut out everything....dairy, caffeine--some of the only things that were getting me by in life at this point. The more research I did, I learned that a lot of kids with reflux are hypersensitive (react to stimuli such as loud sounds, and bright lights more than the average kiddo...ahem, plastic bags?) and reflux would subside by six months. It gave me hope (and now I laugh at that!)

Looking back, I wonder how the hell I made it through. I wonder how my husband and I still like each other. I wonder how I could ever contemplate wanting to do it over again. I wonder how I survived on hour blocks of sleep, or slept sitting up comforting an uncomfortable baby. I felt isolated, and sometimes alone.

Looking back, I remember my 6 week OB appointment, he screamed bloody murder and someone said to me, 'wow, he sure has a temper;' the trip out to dinner for my MIL's birthday where we had to leave because he wouldn't stop crying, or his Dr. saying over and over that he was just colicky.

'Just colicky?'

A lot of people shrugged it off as colic. No big deal. Just a mommy and baby who can't seem to figure out life.

I thought about punching those people directly in the boob. Yes, the boob.

Telling a new mom their child is just colicky is like saying, you just cut off your right arm but oh well, who cares! You cry because they have labeled your child a cranky baby, a bad baby! One article I read even said that my baby was allergic to life. What that does to a mother, well, is not something I can even find the words for.

Even though I was technically house ridden, I didn't want to leave. I was terrified. Every time we left the house, it was like a game of Russian Roulette except for that bullet would get me every time. Screaming. Driving would settle him, but I wasn't allowed to stop, or he screamed till he turned blue. We had a few scares where he turned himself blue because he was so upset, or choking on reflux and I found myself stopped in time, and had to remind myself to take a breath.

I won't lie. I think I sugar coated it not only to spare the mothers-to-be, but to protect myself. I had days when I felt like a failure. I wasn't cut out for this mommy thing. I had to be doing something wrong. I WAS doing something wrong, I was sure of it. Normal babies sleep. Normal babies are peaceful. Normal babies do not projectile the entire contents of their stomach across the room.

As months went on, and as Brady grew, (and the reflux meds were changed, and change, and what he ate changed, and changed, and changed,) life got a bit easier. He became the happy baby that I love more than life itself. We all smiled more. We laughed more. We went shopping together, went to the park. We did normal things that mommy's and baby's do. We are still waiting for him to 'get' the whole sleeping thing.

Last Friday, I had the day off. We ran a few errands. Then, just the two of us went to Bread Co. where we had lunch together.

Such a simple act but looking back, it is a huge feat. There was no way I would have ever thought we would have been able to do that. No way could I bring my 'colicky' baby to a restaurant.

Such a simple act made a working mommy so happy as we usually eat lunch with someone else.

Such a simple act could not make me feel more like a mom as the old folks there doted on him, and played peak-a-boo that sent him into a contagious laughter. I found myself smiling.

Looking back, those first few months were not easy, but in a way, they make me appreciate him so much more, love him tenfold.

In a way, I am thankful for my 'just colicky' baby. The way I look at him and the overflowing immense love I feel today is because we survived together. We made it though. I made it though .

I can do this mommy thing.

and I can do it well.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

My hungry Caterpillar

I got the sweetest gift today from my little man. Of course, he had some help from Melissa which is who watches him a few days a week. Head over to her blog, she makes so many cool things, and here to see how she made it!

I had to show it off because it was awesome, and a little something I will keep forever and remember how little he was.

The caterpillar was made from his fingers and toes! It made me smile!

Thank you, Melissa! We know Brady loves you and you take fabulous care of my little boy that we never worry about him when he is with you!

Happy Mother's Day to you, and all the mommy's out there.

Uh oh......

So......look what he is TRYING to do. Cue scary movie music. This kid is trying to stand up? Seriously?

Like I said. Uh oh.

By the way, this is a toy from Grandma, and he absolutely loves it. Cause and effect!
Fisher Price Stack n Suprise Blocks.