yeah...well...today would have been Isaac's birthday!
i could gab over all i would have accomplished, had i been given those extra six weeks of pregnant preparation -- BUT -- that would detract from the fact that i've been given the HONOR of being a mom for 6 weeks longer than i had expected...
i truly do not remember (slight overstatement) what life was life before he was ours.
i mean, i remember FONDLY what it was like to crawl in bed with my laptop and a heap of magazines and stay up til whenever and sleep the next morning until whenever...
and i remember jumping in my car and zooming off to run a boatload of errands...whenever i wanted.
and i remember going out to dinner with friends...at the drop of a hat.
and i remember rummaging through my closet and picking whatever i wanted -- and it would fit.
but i also remember the days that i would have traded it ALL IN for a little person to love and raise.
i also remember the tears i shed in the middle of those sleepless nights -- when i could have slept till my heart was content. but my heart was not content.
i remember holding my friend's babies, resenting all of my fun and all of my freedom, wishing to exchange it for midnight feedings and miniature booties and blankets....
so though Isaac was originally due to arrive on September 12th -- it was like he became a little birthday gift to me on August 1st. (my birthday is 8-4)
i feel like i've learned ALOT about myself over the last six weeks.
alot about isaac.
alot about my true inner core of who i am.
alot about chad.
alot about family.
and i feel like there was ALOT out there that mom's failed to tell me about, warn me about, prepare me for :)
so without further ado, i'd like to share my list of THINGS I NEVER NEVER KNEW & THINGS THAT REALLY ARE TRUE:
1. i never knew that babies poop out their jaundice!?! i remember in the NICU that isaac's poo was blackish-greenish and thinking how disgusting that was!? and the doctors told me, "no no, that's great! he's ridding his system of jaundice!" ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME? his skin is yellow and he rids it by way of green poo? wow. (oh gosh..i have a feeling i'm gonna be talking about poo for many years to come...i bet it comes up again before this post is over...)
2. i never knew that babies are allowed to have temps above 98.6F. i flipped at the doctor's when his temp was 99-something. nobody batted an eye. "anything under 100.5 is normal, allison...babies can't regulate their temperature....so they cool down and warm up really easily....reeeeelax.
3. i never knew about "age adjustment." so even though they say babies should do "this" or "that" by this week or this month.....isaac is exempt. NOT that i let him slide. but because he was born 6 weeks early, the clock STILL doesn't start on his developmental milestones until his due date. so even though he's 6 weeks old -- i shouldn't expect him to smile at 6 weeks like full term babies. i think i'll just DIE when he smiles, so i give him EVERY loooong moment possible to bust it out, but i'm still on standby for a grin. preemies get a free pass until their "adjusted age...." and luckily somebody filled me in.
4. i NEVER KNEW and it really IS TRUE that breastfeeding SUCKS and is OF THE DEVIL. i am planning a long post on this in the near future b/c i FULLY intend to include photographic evidence of ALL the breast feeding propaganda going on in my house. i am a walking MEDELA ad campaign and should just go ahead and write my check to the lactation consultants mortgage company -- but that's how much i'm spending there. i could have SWORN breastfeeding was cheaper than formula -- but it's a lie. A LIE FROM THE DEVIL. it's EXCRUCIATINGLY painful, messy, time-consuming, frustrating, impossible...did i mention painful?....and nothing short of the world's NUMBER ONE WAY of making a new mom feel like a COMPLETE failure. (wow, that was dramatic and in my future post on this topic i will disclose that it's truly getting BETTER...but i've only cried a few times since bringing this child home and they've ALL been related to breastfeeding. and the 2343234 consultants i've seen. but i REEEEFUSE to give up and i can proudly say that isaac is 6 weeks old and has never had formula. i've sold my soul to MEDELA ...but just standby for additional updates on this at a later date.)
5. i never knew it was possible to function on so little sleep. i know this is the most cliche thing on earth -- but true. it's not the lack of sleep part that i didn't know about. it's the functioning part i didn't know about. i honestly feel like superwoman. i mean. when i'm not begging the angels for another SECOND of sleep. i sometimes stop and think "HOW am i still ALIVE right now with this little sleep? i am AMAZING!" i think God gives us the capability to somehow survive as if we're in some sorta concentration camp...or undergoing some awful form of chinese torture. i've never really been upset about the lack of sleep (barring a few COMPLETE meltdowns during that 1st week or so), i've more or less been incredibly impressed that new moms are allowed to keep their drivers licenses and be a part of a functioning society, during the first 2 mths of new motherhood. but our bodies CAN handle it and it's pretty darn impressive.
6. it really is true that hormones can do a number on you. i really can understand now how women fall into postpartum depression. it's COMPLETELY within the realm of my understanding now. the other day i spent EIGHT HOURS in isaac's nursery and NEVER LEFT. between frustrating feeding sessions, diaper blowouts, rocking him to sleep, pumping on my breast pump, folding his laundry...oh! ...it's time to eat again? oh! ...you wanna be high maintenace? yeah....i can see how women just don't adjust that well and get a case of baby blues. BUT! i've decided it can be completely combated by GETTING DRESSED. (if you've had PP depression -- i'm just being cavalier, please don't send me emails on depression, to a girl who spent 4 years on Paxil. i get it. i've been depressed...i'm just SAYING....) there has not been ONE day i've sat in my sweats all day. not one. i may not get dressed till 3pm, but it is PARAMOUNT to put on makeup. NECESSARY to iron my clothes. use a little hairspray. grab a cute pair of earrings. throw on a pair of kitten heels. PULL YOURSELF TOGETHER. it's a lifesaver. i'm not doing so well before 10am. but if i can JUST get that 1st cup of coffee down...and put on a half-decent outfit.....and feel PRESENTABLE by noon....it's completely changed the face of the day. a smear of lip-gloss can help you feel more pride in yourself, and offset those black circles under my eyes...and i HONESTLY feel it makes me more productive. shallow? maybe. try it. let's discuss.
7. ....breastfeeding is still of the devil.....
8. it really is true -- you love your dog less. well. scratch that. love is like a pie chart. now, there's one more person who eats into the pie. and that much less pie for the dog. and when you feed a dog less -- he's hungry for all sorts of things like ATTENTION. sheesh. and then the dog becomes neeeeedy. which is fair. but annoying nevertheless. and everything the dog does is that much less cute than before, because it detracts from the evergrowing laundry list of things to do -- none of which should ever include rushing him off to the vet for an infected bug bite (yes. i'm bitter. last week it ROCKED throwing my baby, the stroller, the dog, the apnea monitor, diaper bags, etc...into my HATCH BACK TWO-DOOR MITSUBISHI ECLIPSE ...in the rain....with broken windshield wipers because RUDY had a bite infection.....and spending hundreds of dollars on his treatment...). call me cruel and heartless -- there's just less pie for the dog. i would have NEEEEEVER believed it before. but it's true. it really happens. be prepared pregnant dog-owners!
9. i never knew how much i'd grow to hate houseguests. now before you ask yourself, "wait...have i been or will i be a houseguest soon at the morgans?" please understand that it's nothing personal. no really. it's not you, it's me. it's just a recipe for disaster. if you knew the pseudo-routine i was trying to establish, you'd understand that your presence pretty much destroys it. unless you want to be in isaac's room breastfeeding with me, or trying to breastfeed, then bottlefeed, then change his crap, change his clothes, then hang out with my breastpump...then scramble to get dressed, eat, do laundry, do dishes, clean pump parts, wash bottles, label breast milk, get mail....and REPEAT eight times a day....then you probably shouldn't come over. because...frankly....when you do come over, i feel a HUGE need to entertain you (as i should! but i can't! the minutes run out and the day is over and you're still sitting in the living room waiting for dinner!) and that, my friends, should bring us back to the pie chart referenced above. i don't have entertainment in the pie chart. and i feel this HORRIBLE sense of obligation to make sure you're ok...sitting and twiddling your thumbs during my awful routine of the day (awful for you, not me...mind you.) and then i get stressed. and when i get stressed, the whole thing goes haywire and i suffer more than you know. so please just assume i need a little heads up if you wanna stay with me over the next mth or so. which brings me to my next point....
10. it really is true -- you have to start saying NO. and trust me -- it's never been easier. i've never said no MORE than i have over the last 6 weeks. i know i've unintentionally hurt people's feelings -- i just don't know what to say. i CANNOT be the person i was before isaac. she will return to you soon. but right now -- i'm in survival mode so i probably can't grab coffee, grab drinks, grab dinner, go to annapolis for the day, go to mom's group on wednesdays, go to bible study on thursdays, etc etc.....just can't. i get sad about it too -- but -- i got things going on and the pie is busted.
11. it REALLY IS TRUE!! (this one shocked me....even me...) i will probably make you wash your hands before touching my baby! i always made FUN of these sorts of people! now before you judge me -- i have a preemie. or had a preemie. and the day the preemie gets sick -- is the day you die if you got him sick. so to avoid this -- we made everybody who entered the house, scrub down in antibacterial lotion. gosh. i was THAT mom! but he didn't get sick....and so i'll gladly be the brunt of all stereotype jokes because it was WORTH IT!!! one of chad's friends came over and wanted to touch (TOUCH! not even HOLD!) the baby and chad just looked at him and goes, "....uhm..no. he's not a toy. you cannot touch him..." i almost slapped chad, but found myself hysterically laughing instead. my husband was dead serious. he literally TOLD HIS FRIEND not to touch our child. so yeah. it's true. it really really is true....
but i guess the thing that's taken me by surprise the most....is.....
12. .....i am a really good mother....
i neither knew, OR had anybody tell me i would be a good mother, in all of my life.
i'm not that girl that is naturally maternal.
nobody ever looked at me and gushed over, "omg, you're going to be such a wonderful mother....i can't wait till you have children....you were a born mother."
nobody ever told me that.
but it really is true.
i no longer need validation from anybody else on how i've passed or failed as a parent. i can stand solely on my new-found knowledge that i am capable and i am gosh darn good at what i do.
i always wondered if i'd feel bad for my children, like, "wow...i got stuck with some idiot mom who can't seem to get her act together...."
and now i know that's not true.
i am a born mother.
i can confidently say i would want to be my child....
i will do just fine....i will do great.....
...and isaac will be so proud of me.
there are days i feel like my body needs to be in 14 places at once.
just yesterday, i was breathlessly putting the fresh sheets on the beds (ahem...houseguests today), and assembling baby monitors, and sterlizing bottles, and giving isaac his medicine, while defrosting salmon, and blowing my bangs out of my sweaty face, and going through bills, the phone ringing off the hook....leaning over to give my dog his ear infection drops (which is like taking on a sumo wrestler....nearly impossible....)
and chad, from across the room, sitting in his chair just home from work looks at me with a half-smile and says....
"al...i think you like taking care of everybody...."
and i stopped dead in my tracks.
and realized i was living my dream.
each day builds upon itself....and however mundane the to-do list seems....i am living history.
each day ...a piece of my life....that i always wanted.
i will look back on all of this....on the history of my life....and know that i "took care of everybody."
and my husbands seems to think it agrees with me....
and though nobody told me i would be.....
but it really is true....
i am a mom.
and i am a really, really good mom......