Archive for the ‘Parenthood!!!!’ Category

Traversing the summit

It’s been forever since I have written. Jacob is six months old now and sleeping upstairs. Today is a vacation day, but I find myself at the computer.I have team reviews to write, but I find myself distracted.

The snow outside is exquisite. It blankets our yard, and gentle shadows cascade across its surface. I want to roll around in it. Taste it. Come in chilled and wet and exhilarated.

I realized this week that I have been motivated (and often immobilized) by fear. Anxiety about “the worst” happening has seemed to put me in retrograde. Everyone has one of those fault lines. The dark crevass of our psyche where the “worst case sinario” seems to beckon, exascerbating our fears. My family is wonderful and healthy, my marriage solid, my job is exciting. Still, when you have spent your life building things up, you sometimes get consumed by the idea that they can so easily come tumbling down.

I have realized that in my quest to keep everything moving, I am beginning to loose pieces of myself. In fact, some things are moving in the wrong direction! I am like a hiker that has made it to the summit, only to find that she’s climbing the wrong mountain! Although the view is lovely, there are some things that I have lost along the way. I need to pack up, and lighten the load, and make it back down the hill. I’ll only carry what is necessary, like my child and my values. I’ll walk in step with my husband. At times, we can coax the other on, when one feels they cannot continue. When we get back down to the base camp we will decide what we really need for our next adventure. We will leave the gunk behind, pack a little lighter, and set out for the true summit. We will rest, breathe deep and take time for love. This adventure is not time bound!

So, here I go. being a little vague because I have to be. Just know that I will take you with me. And the view along the way, though rough at times, will be lovely.

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Breast friends- Baby, can you get enough?

BREAST FRIENDS. 

It’s been ages since I have written, and I am sorry. I’ve been meaning to write…but it’s been challenging just to get rest and food. I’m running on fumes, but trying to pretend I have a full tank.

I decided to try to breastfeed Baby Jacob for as long as I can. I gave myself a mini-goal of six months, after which I will reacess and see if I can get him to a year. He went in to the NICU when he was born and my supply has never caught up to his demand. I have spoken to doctors and lactation consultants and tried to catch up with him, but I’ve finally resigned myself to being his supplemental food source, rather than his exclusive or primary one.

After all the ego hits of IVF, hospital bedrest and the big stamp of “advanced maternal age,” not making enough milk for my  baby is up there on the ego smackdown. But here’s how I look at it. At least I can offer him quality, rather than quantity. Sure, I am still trying like hell to catch up, but if I can get him to 5-6 months, at least he’s had a constant supply of mother’s milk. And rather than feeling guilty for making less than I would hope to, I treasure the times that we do get to spend together when I feed him. He’s still my little miracle.

I have a dear friend at work who had her second baby girl a few weeks after Jacob. She is a lovely woman, full of vigor and zing. Every time I see her and ask about her kids, she tells my how much milk she’s producing in each pumping (8-10 oz each time!!!). I know she doesn’t mean anything by it, but it reminds me of a guy who brags about penis size, or how many girls he bedded last week. Part of me is filled with envy when I hear her reports, but I try to take it back to center and remember how lucky I am for having a healthy, gorgeous son, a great job, shelter, family, and a hubby who loves me. Milk shmilk! It’s all relative.

 

THE SUNDRESS GIRLS. 

There is always going to be someone who seems to have something you want. When I was on hospital bedrest (for six weeks!) they would wheel me on a gurney down to a daily non-stress test. They’d take me through the part of the hospital that was bustling with out-patient testing. It’s hard enough to be wheeled around in a wheelchair- but being pushed on a BED takes it to a whole other level! Once inside the testing area they would park me in the middle of the hallway. After a while I learned to bring something with me to distract myself, like a book or my blackberry, something that I could look at to avoid the glances of pregnant women who were visiting the hospital for a quick test before returning to the world outside the berm. Since I was not allowed outside, I could mark the passage of time (and weather) by their attire. June and July were “sundress time” in Boston and all the pretty ladies seem to sachet past with their florals and batiks mocking me. When they would look my way I would smile. I tried to wish them well with my eyes. “Don’t worry, I’m not contageous” I thought to myself. Most women, however, would do everything they could NOT to make eye contact, as if my baby and I had some disasterous affliction, and locking eyes would somehow curse them. I know that fear, I used to have a twinge of it every time I heard of a friend on bed rest. “Oh how awful,” I’d think. But here I was, in the hospital for six weeks. On my back. Immobile… At least I was smiling.

As much as I resented the sundress girls, with there billowy dresses and protruding bumps, I knew there was a long chain that linked us together. The grass is always greener somewhere else. What I needed to remember was that we ALL are of great value and beauty. We all MATTER. There is always going to be someone who has something you want. You can spend time consuming yourself with envy and grief, or you can treasure what you do have, and hope for what you want. I try to remember this. 

 

ACTS OF GRACE

It was the founder of Acts of Grace Foundation who send me a small care package while I was on hospital bed rest. She and I will never meet, but her kindness touched me deeply. In honor of one of her twins, Grace, who passed away, I will pay it forward this holiday. I will be making small care packages for the women on bedrest at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. My friends are coming over to help me, and it will also be a great closing of a chapter for me. I will never forget how much I have grown this year, and hope to channel some of that experience into something meaningful for others. (Acts of Grace foundation….http://www.actsofgracefoundation.com/5.html)

WISHING YOU JOY…..

Leave a comment and make a wish for the next person who reads it….

Momster

I’m sitting here with my baby wedged under my left arm and my laptop dangling precariously between my knees. Jacob is finally asleep and I dare not wake him. His tiny fingers are laced across the strap of my  camisole. He needs his nails cut.

There’s not much I can say tonight because I am in an exhaustion stupor. I’d love to unpack from our move, but it’s easier to sit here and stare at my hands. I have been nursing non-stop and I feel as if my essence has been drained along with any bit of nourishment I can provide for him. I’ve been wearing the same three pairs of knit pants for about six weeks…

It’s not that I am ungrateful for this gift, but it is harder than I thought it would be. I think people should feel comfortable mentioning that. I am so happy to have him, but I am still learning how to be a good mother.

I am sure we will find our way. I know we will….

Jacob on a Pizza Box- Special Delivery

Here comes the sun!

 

Jacob at birth

 

Baby Jacob is 6 weeks old now. Life certainly has changed. What an incredible journey. I hold this baby in my arms and I can’t believe that he is ours.

There’s so many things about pregnancy and birth that no one tells you. I guess it is different for each woman, each child. Yesterday I taught Jacob what the sun was. I think we were both experiencing it for the first time…

Bed Rest Survival Guide

 

 

 

Bed Rest Babe - Getting close !

 

After six weeks on hospital bed rest and two weeks at home, I thought I would pass along a few tips which really saved me during a very trying time. Some of these simply helped to pass the hours, or relieve a bit of sadness. Others seem to have strengthened my resolve and helped to make our baby fit and strong. Please feel free to add your own tips or comments in the space below the post as they might help someone else going through this trying situation. 

Things I Did for Healing

Make friends with other women on the floor- this made me feel less alone, and helped me form a network of support. If you are not in a position to do this, you can look up blogs, chat rooms or reach out to friends. It’s important to have allies.

Sing to your baby- Every day I sang to my baby and spoke to him. This made me remember why I was doing this and made me feel connected to something much bigger than myself. I still sing the same song to him (a silly one that I made up). It’s our little secret.

Let GO- As hard as it is, recognize that there are somethings that you CAN control (like the foods you eat, your rest, your breathing) and some you CANNOT. You need to let go of those things you cannot control. Sometimes this means just letting others help you, or advise you with medical care. Other times it means keeping the faith and focussing on the goal. There were many twists and turns and unseen events during our time in hospital. Being flexible, open, and really discussing each challenge with my parter helped us to champion the situation.

Find an advocate- Even Rocky Balboa had a coach in his corner. You need people who will help you keep your wits about you on the days you might feel defeated. I used the Chaplain Services at the hospital, and became friends with the Lady Rabbi on staff. I also spoke to the Social worker, who is a fantastic therapist and specialized in working with families who had challenges similar to ours. The hospital also let me have acupuncture treatments, so my dear friend and acupuncturist was able to make house calls! I believe this did wonders for me and my baby.

Find someone who can be there for you and “fill your cup” when you are in need of support.

Celebrate milestones- My water broke at 28 weeks. It was very touch and go as we waited to see if the baby would deliver early. The Bear got me a big calendar, and each day that passed was a marked victory. I decorated the calendar with sayings and illustrations for my baby and we celebrated each friday (his gestational development date) as one more week of progress. Friends would visit on “Fabulous Friday’s” and we would celebrate the small but solemn victory.

Create a shrine of girl-power – No matter your faith, it’s essential to still celebrate your self and the spark that grows within you. I asked each of my friends to let me borrow something that reminded them of strength, hope, or healing. Something that was an empowering symbol for them. I created a “sacred space” on my window sill and derived great resolution from it. (It also made me realize the healing power of friendship).

Celebrate Children- hanging up the drawings or photographs of children in my life helped me connect with the child growing inside of me. It also inspired me to keep moving forward.

Exercise your brain– So you can’t get up and dance on cue, but you can do something for your psyche. This might be reading, crochet, scrapbooking, etc. I started a million projects which I never finished, but it helped me to pass the time. I also needed to permit myself some “mindless” time- as this helped me cope when I was overwhelmed (yes, I did fall in love with bad tv and went bonkers for the Kardashians, Boston Medical and “16 and Pregnant”).

Have the balls…. My husband and I realized that we needed to become immediate advocates for our unborn child. Listen to the advice of experts, but be willing to challenge recommendations if you feel uncomfortable about anything. ASK QUESTIONS! As hard as it might be at times, you have a voice and a vote in your treatment and care.

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The Basics

A dear friend, who had also been on hospital bed rest for a number of weeks supplied me with some ESSENTIALS that really made it easier:

Almonds- a natural way to relieve heartburn (and a healthy protein for you and baby).

A Camelback water bottle- very cute, and you can drink it when you are sideways in bed, without spilling a drop.

Dark Chocolate- you will be surprised how happy this will make you.

Other friends and family members provided these essentials:

Candied (or crystalized) ginger and ginger tea- again, for heartburn.

Tums- ditto.

A beautiful shawl- It’s amazing how bed rest toys with your self esteem. On the days when you have visitors, but can’t really buff and polish, a shawl can give you a little perk me up. (It’s also good when you are alone, and just need a hug).

Facial spritz or toner and foot lotion/muscle rub- just a little something to sooth you, especially if you are indoors all day.

Things from home- I brought my own pillow, blanket and a small stuffed doll. These really made the room feel warmer.

This lil guy made bed rest easier

 

I hope this helps…..Please add your comments and pass it along to anyone who might find this useful.

Hugs,

Shell

 

 

My belly at 34 weeks

 

Hospital food!

 

My fella

 

Welcome Baby Jacob!

It was 1:30 in the morning of July 25 when something tugged at me  from the inside out. It was my second week of home bed rest (after being on hospital confinement for six weeks!). I wobbled over to the bathroom and nearly slipped on the turn. My water had broken all over the second floor of our new house. If you have ever seen that moment in “Ghostbusters” where the guy says “I’ve been slimed!” you can imagine the trail I left behind. Still, I was in complete denial, as this was the one thing we had not prepared for. So much had transpired in the eight weeks prior, that the last thing I expected was the “Honey, my water broke!” scenario.

Half packed bags, Half dressed. Fumbling in the dark. The Bear and I looked like nervous teenagers. He paced back and forth, urging me to get out of the bathroom. Finally I complied.

We had never made the “hospital run” from our new house. Everything on the highway looked foreign and celestial. I felt like the car was floating. I sat on four towels and tried to do some mean yoga breathing.

We were rushed into the operating room I will never forget my husband’s eyes peering out from over his hospital mask. So expectant. So full of love. I think I will remember that face until the day I die.

At 5:46am, our son was born. He was a gorgeous, agile baby with a thick mane of golden brown hair, and a shocking cry. After so many wins and losses, so many trials. He was here!

Welcome, Baby Jacob!  Wow!