Wednesday, April 10, 2013

A letter to myself

Dear Amy,

Right now, you are in the thick of it. Tantrums. Sleep deprivation. Distracted nursing sessions. Poop. So.much.poop. It all sounds so great, doesn't it?

That's the thing, it is. Take a minute. Breathe in the scent of those freshly washed baby curls. Listen to the sounds of sweet belly laughs. Pat his soft dimpled skin and kiss those chubby cheeks, again and again.

Look at you the boy who first called you mama. Look at how long his legs are and remember how tiny they used to be in your arms. Put your hands on his sweet face and tell him how much you love him as you remember the chubby cheeks that you used to obsessively kiss. Rub your hands through this short hair darkening with time and remember the blond and curly locks that used to be in its place.

Three year olds. Oh, my three is hard. These little beings can be exhausting but they are so amazing in that same respect. Cuddle him close when he invites you in. Your baby is a mere two months away from toddlerhood. Don't rush him, he'll do things in his own time and when he is ready. It will come too soon that his dependence will lessen and your heart will miss it.

Time is fleeting, momma and I know It's hard to be 'in the moment' all the time.

The tantrums are hard. They are frustrating, exhausting and even confusing. Sometimes, you want to cry too when you've tried to accommodate an overtired three year old who wants nothing you are offering and you're exhausted after getting up who knows how many times to nurse the baby and finally getting up at 5:30 am to get ready for work (and get everyone out of the door on time!) Sometimes, you give in and that's ok.

Instead of crying, you get through it, together. You find yourself thankful for his voice and know you'll hear laughter soon enough.

The lack of sleep is rough and makes the days long but you find yourself thankful for the nightly nursing sessions because it means you're able to nourish and fill his sweet belly. You soak in those moments, as he grows bigger with each gulp because you know those moments are fleeting.

When your three year old asks you 100 questions, 99 which are the same, take time to answer them. They might not be that high on your list and might even drive you a bit crazy but try to remember you are his guide in this world and his teacher.

When you are feeling a bit overwhelmed, just stop. Look around at the toys sprawled throughout the house and know those won't be there forever. One day, you'll miss them.

When all else fails sing, dance, paint or break all the rules. Eat cake for breakfast. Run through the sprinkler in the dark. Leave the dishes behind so you can build a fort in the living room. Sometimes, you just need to let go. Have fun. Leave your worries behind. Really. Don't just 'pretend' to leave them behind but do it.

I know that the days are short, the lists are long and there are so many tears along the way but you will never get these days back. I know that knowledge is hard to swallow but just take a step back and love your life right at this moment. Forget whatever notion of perfect parenting you have carved out in your mind or the snippets of others lives you read on the Internet but its your moment, it's their childhood. It's okay if you feel like you're failing sometimes as we all have our inadequacies and it's those that make us strive to be better.

In that same breath, don't forget, you're a good mom. You may not have time to do all the fun and educational activities you've pinned on Pinterest but your kids are happy. You might drag them from one errand to the next on your days off but they feel loved and that is what is important.

I know it's hard to remember all of this in the hustle and bustle of everyday life with two young kids but come back to this, read it over a time or two to remind yourself.

Think of the sounds Benny makes as you are reunited after a long day at work. Remember how he curls up around you and nuzzles his head into your chest with pure excitement. Remember that moment.

Think to bedtime when you are tucking Brady in and he asks for another kiss, and another hug. Then, another and another. Think of those innocent moments in the dark when he allows you to cradle him in your arms and surround him with love. Remember that moment.

It's those moments that we live for and don't let them get away.

Mother, oh Mother, come shake out your cloth
empty the dustpan, poison the moth,
hang out the washing and butter the bread,
sew on a button and make up a bed.
Where is the mother whose house is so shocking?
She's up in the nursery, blissfully rocking.

Oh, I've grown shiftless as Little Boy Blue
(lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo).
Dishes are waiting and bills are past due
(pat-a-cake, darling, and peek, peekaboo).
The shopping's not done and there's nothing for stew
and out in the yard there's a hullabaloo
but I'm playing Kanga and this is my Roo.
Look! Aren't her eyes the most wonderful hue?
(lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo).

The cleaning and scrubbing will wait till tomorrow,
for children grow up, as I've learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down, cobwebs. Dust go to sleep.
I'm rocking my baby and babies don't keep.

by Ruth Hulburt Hamilton

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Surgery day.

Woah. I'm not sure I've ever had a bloggin' break that lasted this long! I need to finish Benny's monthly posts because I'm already forgetting things!

Benny finally had his surgery yesterday. I feel bad for the kid because people ask what he has to have surgery for and I explain to them about hypospadias. I'm sure he will love all the talk about his 'manhood' when he gets older but as a mom it wasn't an easy thing to experience. Long story short is that his urethra wasn't in the 'right' spot and it was moved to prevent issues later on down the road (which some were already starting to develop.)  We were told it was a pretty easy process and his wasn't too severe (but ended up needing more 'repair' than we had thought) but he still had to be cut and he still had to go under which was terrifying for me. We were told it was a 1-2 hour surgery and I couldn't' fathom him being taken away from me for so long.

 He was supposed to have it in January and they wanted him to weight a bit more and then he got sick. So, when it started getting close, I wasn't nervous because it wasn't real. Then, I got the call. The time, the instructions. I was shaking. I had so much nervous energy, I think I cleaned the entire house.

We had to be at the hospital early and I think it was 6:30 before when we were checked in. We were asked 100 questions from 10 different people (nurse, anesthesiologist  doctor, who knows who the other people were!) and the next 1.5 hours were called 'distract the hungry baby.' Instructions were no milk after midnight and no clear liquids after 4:30. This sucked. Benny, so I think, has a really fast metabolism or something because kiddo eats all the time. He still nurses every 2-4 hours and overnight about 2 times or so. I don't know where he puts it all because still being in the low percentile, he packs away a lot of food for being so little.
Could he seriously be ANY cuter in his little gown? The hand gesture is his new thing, 'what?'

I fed him around 11:45 and even tried to top him off with some formula but he only took less than 2 ounces. He woke up at 3:30 and was ready to eat again, not sure if he wanted it more for a comfort feed or if he was really hungry but kiddo would NOT go back to sleep. I rocked him, we swayed, I finally gave in and we played. Around 5 am, he finally conked out. I got ready and we woke him up as we walked out the door at 5:45.

I was nervous about how he would act when we got there, knowing his surgery wasn't till 8:15. He was a riot. Hamming it up for the nurses and wooing them with his big ol' eyes and dimply smile. We played in the playroom, we walked, A LOT and we made up silly games of distraction. The time really went more quickly than I thought it would.

The anesthesiologist came in and I almost lost it when he told me he'd take good care of my baby. The nurse came in to take him and even though he went with her willingly without tears thanks to her sparkly name badge, it hit me. I kissed him 1000 times and the tears came quickly. Our nurse quickly came in and distracted me by telling us to go eat and told us a funny story about people passing out. I couldn't sit there and just wait so we walked around the floor a bit and finally went down and grabbed some breakfast.
Waiting. Waiting sucks. 

 You wait in the same room so they can get a hold of you in case they need you/let you know when he is finished but when the phone rang near 9:00, my heart dropped. I grabbed it faster than I've ever done anything. Thankfully, they were doing a courtesy call to let us know that they were starting late (they wait till they are asleep to start the IV and he was a hard stick) and wouldn't be done at the time the dr had told me and didn't want us worrying!

Around 10:15, the doctor came in. He did great, was out and would be calling us soon to come see him! Talk about a sigh of relief. I was anxious to see him and I just wanted him back in MY arms.

After what felt like an eternity, it rang and we could walk down to recovery to see him! I swear I ran back there and swooped him up out of that nurse arms! He was devouring a bottle of pedialyte and was still really groggy but being reunited never felt better. He nursed for a bit and then went back to sleep. I held him and kissed his little head and I think every single finger.

We texted everyone to let them know he was out and doing well. I texted our sitter too so that she could let Brady know Benny was doing well since he told her he was worried about him. (So sweet!) He slept deeply for a while and woke up in a good mood.

 Around, 12:30, he started to get really fussy and then started screaming. He wanted to nurse but didn't want to. He was climbing and flailing and it was awful to see him like that. It was most likely the pain meds were wearing off, he had bladder spasms or he had gas from the anesthesia. It could have been a lot of things but it sucked. Seeing him like that was the most helpless I've felt as a parent and I hope to never feel that way again. Our sweet nurse gave him some spasm medication, gas meds and pain medicine and he was asleep in my arms again by 1:00. It wasn't for a few more hours that we were finally discharged.

Poor kid looked drugged up and it broke my heart to see that but I was glad he wasn't in pain. We always joke about Benny's 'intense' looks and the nurse told us that when he woke up, he zeroed in on one particular man and would not stop staring at him until someone gave him a bottle of Pedialyte, ha!

He slept/nursed most of the night but woke up this morning ready to go! He is happy, crawling/pulling up and I haven't had to give him any pain meds stronger than Tylenol since last night. We are still giving him the spasm meds for another day to be sure and they we can stop those. He is on an antibiotics to prevent infection (well, duh) because he had to have a catheter.

The catheter stays in for a week and the bandages stay on till tomorrow or Saturday. I'm a bit afraid to see what is under there but I know he will heal quickly. I have to say, the team at Children's was amazing as usual. It was obvious they are used to dealing with nervous parents and take that into consideration in what they do. That is something I appreciated so much.  I also see nurses in a different light even though I've always known they were rock stars!  I sat there holding Benny in recovery, another baby had just came out of surgery and was screaming bloody murder. I watched another nurse console him, rock him and do what she could do make him feel safe and comforted but all he wanted was a familiar face and food (I'm sure) but it hit me in all that these wonderful nurses do! (You rock!)

All of this has really made me count my blessings more and appreciate their health more than ever. I saw so many other kids in there before/after surgery and it's sucks that kids have to deal with any sort of medical issue even the 'minor' ones because as parents we know, there is no such thing as minor when it comes to your kids. I am so proud of my big boy and amazed at how resilient babies can be!