This time last year I was pregnant. This time last year I think I lived a very luxurious lifestyle, sleeping in until 8 or 9, venturing into Portland for prenatal yoga classes, stopping by various french or vegan bakeries after yoga. My biggest decision was whether I wanted the vanilla cupcake or the chocolate chip cookie, or both? The month before he was born we watched the Olympics every night. I crocheted a chevron blanket in aqua and gray. I’ve hardly touched that blanket since.
There was no I have to get back to, or I need to pump, or oh no I’ve been gone an hour already, or what can I fit into my day that’s fun in the tiny window between H’s two naps.
A friend had her baby the other night and it brought it all back seeing that tiny squinched-in face, the slitted eyes, the not quite ready to face a world outside of the uterus face. The hospital hat and blanket (why are they all the same, is there some universal hospital baby garb emporium somewhere?), the adoration on the mothers face. I remember tripping out on all of the pictures of H and I after he was born, I couldn’t tear my eyes off of him.
I went in on 3/3, my due date, for a check. They said I had no fluid left and I would have to be induced. I had no idea that the night before would be the last time (ever?) I would sleep a full 8 hour stretch. I had a birth plan, no inducement, no drugs, no epidural. In the end I had them all. I went all night without pain relieving drugs while they pumped me full of pitocin. My contractions got stronger and stronger. I took a shower. It didn’t help. I was admitted on 3/3 and they began pitocin at noon. I last until 6:30am the next morning before I asked for pain relief.
After it happened, after he came out, after I went home, I remember thinking I would never heal. I couldn’t sit, not even on the couch. Going to the bathroom was an agony. Something had happened to my lower back. Those tears and fissures took months to heal. I could feel the echo of the birth when I walked. It reminded me as it stung, you gave birth. Just not that long ago you gave birth.
And all of that was a strong second to having him here. It was a equal mixture of wonderment and what the f*&% am I doing. Is the diaper on right? How often do I change it? Has he eaten enough? Why is his poop green? Has he slept enough? What kind of pump do I get? Why isn’t the pump working? The daycare needs more milk. How can I get more milk? I’m so tired. Can I just go to sleep?
There are so many things they tell you and so many things you just have to learn on your own. Did you know that newborn finger nails grow at light speed? You can’t cut them right away, you have to cover their hands with mittens. When you can cut them expect to do so twice a week. Did you know newborns get acne? I didn’t! The plastibell ring from H’s circumcision was supposed to fall off in 3-6 days. It took 15 days. The first time he had a fever I called the nurse in a panic. At one point I had a Google breakdown, I had to stop looking everything baby up because I couldn’t take all of the different opinions anymore.
And then, a rhythm. Those question marks lost their bite. I stopped freaking out if I didn’t know the answer to something right away. I would find it eventually. The latest has been milk. As in my milk, or lack of it. He has been sleeping more and my milk has lessened (from day one until now he’s at least wakened twice every night). I’ve fed H religiously by the breast since day one, it was really important to me not to supplement or stop breast feeding. Until the other day. I just couldn’t anymore. I went and bought some organic formula. I ordered organic powdered goat’s milk online (supposed to be more easily digestible). I’ve almost made it to the one year mark that was my goal, and I still want to breast feed. I just can’t do it exclusively anymore. I feel a lot less sadness over this decision than I thought I would, and a whole lot more relief.
Being a parent is hard, and for me it’s only just beginning. But every tear, every anxiety, every moment of frustration is eclipsed by just one smile. Just one crooked smile and it’s all wiped away in an instant.
In yoga news, there has been scant news, this sickness has held on longer than I thought and seeped into other members of my family. No bueno. I did manage to do some asanas while packing last night. It felt good, those poses, just not long enough. I can’t wait to start again next week. I signed up for another month at Escape to Yoga in Sherwood.
And packing, yes! We are going to Astoria! I’m very excited, the parents are staying tonight, and H & I for two nights. I’m glad to spend time with them (and have their help with H!). H does not sleep too well when he stays in the same room as me. I’ll get the port-a-crib again this time and see how it goes.
I think there is lots more to write about spending this last year with H and the revelation it is to be a mother. It will be interesting to see how much more nostalgic I get as his first birthday approaches.
Last week marked my one year mark in Oregon. It came full circle, I went to my home group (my only AA meeting per week, I am praying that changes soon!) and my sponsor was leading the meeting just like she was doing when I walked in a year ago, pregnant, scared, and not knowing a soul. I do finally feel comfortable in that meeting, it takes what it takes, one of my favorite (and hard to understand at first) AA sayings. Like I’ve said before, I’m looking forward to see what my Higher Power will do as far as finding other meetings that I can be accountable to.