Feeling it All

It’s so funny to think about what I was doing, and what I was feeling just one year ago.  Packing hospital bags, preparing the nursery, cleaning every nook and cranny in the house.  All the pregnancy pains and emotions surrounding our family that was going to become one person larger, and the sadness of leaving my old life behind.

It’s a year later and I’m feeling like I’m about to burst with emotion.  I’m just a mixed bag right now.  I’m still so upset with how the labor and delivery went and how I spent those first 6 weeks or so after Max was born, but I’m also just so damn happy with this little person I’m watching grow up.

I feel like I was robbed of a lot of bonding time with him.  I don’t really have any memory of what he was like as a newborn, except from what I see in photos and videos.  I didn’t hold him a lot because I was afraid of him (yep, I was afraid of my baby), I didn’t take any photos in the first few weeks(thankfully my mom did) because I couldn’t even bring myself to pick up my camera, unheard of I tell you.

This has been the hardest year of my life, hands down.  None of this came easy.  Not that I was expecting to jump right into parenting and know exactly what I was doing, but I didn’t expect it to be as hard as it was.  A lot of parents say it Oh, it was love at first sight for us!  It wasn’t at all.  We were strangers to each other.  Over time I fell head over heals in love with this guy, but it definitely took a lot of getting to know each other.

Part of me feels like I failed him (please know, that I know, I didn’t fail him).  I wasn’t able to be there for him when he really needed me, all of me.  Yeah, I was physically there and I was feeding him and changing his diapers but I wasn’t in the right state of mind.  I felt like I couldn’t take care of him.  I felt like something was going to happen if I was left alone with him.  Of course nothing did happen, but that feeling is one I hope I never ever feel again.

This was our second day home.  He’s still tan from the billi lights from the jaundice, and sleeping on me which was/is a rare occurrence.

When I think about all of the hurdles he’s jumped in his one year here, I can’t help but think about how if my labor went as I had hoped it would and he was brought into this world in a less traumatic way, he wouldn’t have had torticollis or plagiocephaly, and he never would have had to go to physical therapy or wear a corrective helmet.  And I also can’t help but think that in his first few months of life when he would scream and cry for hours and hours it was because he was in pain.  His head and neck were sooooo messed up, and I had no idea.  There’s a little mommy guilt for ya.  I wish I knew.  Every parent wishes they knew what was wrong with their child.  Neither of us had it easy.  No parent has it easy.

I was so fogged by crippling depression and anxiety, I couldn’t function on my own.  I felt like I couldn’t be by myself.  I had this feeling of impending doom.  I remember one night Rob had a meeting he had to go to and my mom was working so she couldn’t come be with me.  I was absolutely hysterical when Rob left.  Sobbing, and telling him I was afraid.  He left, I cried some more.  I called my mom, she talked me down.  And then my friend Jenny called, who is a nurse practitioner and has two boys of her own.  I don’t remember what she said but I just remember that she called just to check on me and she listened and was there.

If I could rewind and get a redo on the first few months of Max’s life I just might.  I know everything happens for a reason and all that jazz, but damn sometimes I wish we had a different start.

Right now, what Max and I have, is the stuff I dreamed of.  He’s my sidekick, my pal, my most favorite thing in the whole world.  I seriously could not have imagined a better life than I have now.  And I know it wouldn’t be this way had I not gone through what I did.



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On Halloween and round heads

I’m a little late on posting Halloween pictures, but better late than never eh?

Joy and Shauna as Beetlejuice and Lydia.  AMAZING.

Mike as the Swedish Chef, myself as Miss Piggy and Devo as Lew Zealand.  Muppets!

Lumberjack Katie.

My friend Brad, dressed as Heisenberg from Breaking Bad, his hip hop group, Sticks Downey performed at a party we went to and it was awesome.  Sadly, Rob had to work and couldn’t join us in all the fun.

On Halloween day we dressed up Max.

Max was Evel Knievel.  I made his costume, and by made I mean I hot glued ribbon and star decals onto a white romper.  I did make the cape on my own, and if you saw it in real life you’d see how crooked and poorly made it is.  And I forgot to get materials to make a belt buckle, so Rob just printed on from the interwebs.  Then Max drooled and the ink ran.

Also, this:

This was the photo used for the invite to one of our baby showers.  We were on to something…

A couple of days after Halloween Rob and I decided we were done with the helmet.  We were both incredibly pleased with the results and Max was becoming more and more irritable with it.  We had the last helmet appointment on Monday and told the orthotist that we wanted to call it a day.  He was totally fine with that, not that he shouldn’t be, we are the parents and it’s our decision.  He took one last measurement of Max’s head.  He measured at 6mm off.  He started off at 21mm off, huge improvement.

But for us it wasn’t the number that mattered, it was how he looked.  His ears are aligned, his forehead is round and even, his left eye is less sunken in and the back of his head is round.  His lump on the left side of his head has even gone down significantly.  In celebration of his rounded head I took some photos of it.

Aaaaaah!  Look at that perfect head!

There was some leaf tasting.

So. Much. Drool.

In the end I’m glad we decided to go with the helmet.  It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be (except for the whole allergic reaction thing) and, well, he looked so damn cute with it on.  I think we’ll have it bronzed.

6 Months Old

My boy is 6 months old.  Six.  Months.  Old.  Half a year, people!  Somebody, pleeeease stop time.  This is happening waaay too fast and I don’t like it.

This baby of mine is quickly turning into a little boy.  I mean, I know he’s a boy but you know what I mean.  His baby-ness is changing all the time.  For instance; he just had a growth spurt a couple of weeks ago and now his fat baby tummy is gone!  He’s long and lean now!  Luckily he still has those fat baby thighs and I’m hoping those cheeks are here to stay.  But now when I look at him I see a little boy.

I cried a little last night thinking about Max’s birth and the nearly two days of labor leading up to it.  I’m still upset about it, but I’ve been looking at it differently lately, more positively I guess.  At least I’m trying to.  Sometimes it’s just so hard to believe that I did that.  That he did that.  That that was the beginning of his life here on this planet.  Part of me wants to relive that experience again.  And again.  And again.  But I think that part of me wants to relive the experience that never actually happened.  The one where everything went according to plan.

These days the Monster passes his time by squealing in delight while slapping whatever his chubby little hands come in contact with, sitting up, jumping around in the jumeperoo, and eating sweet potatoes, carrots, apples and plums (I made them all!).  He is really becoming interested in the dogs these days.  He likes to run his fingers through their hair, then grab it really tightly.   Don’t worry, we’re right there with him just in case one of the dogs snaps.  I’m sure if he could he’d try to put them in his mouth.  Because that’s where everything goes.  Except now there are teeth in that mouth, and those teeth HURT.

TEETH!

He’s got his 6 month checkup next week.  I’m eager to see how much he weighs.  That little booger is heavy.  As for the helmet, we’re on to full time wearing, 23 hours a day.  He’s doing really well with it.  The sock has made all the difference.  I used his 1 hour off today to take some photos.  We saw the helmet guy on Monday and he said his head grew 5mm, which confirmed my suspicion of a recent growth spurt.  He also pointed out where the helmet is doing it’s job, which I was very glad to see.

In 6 more months he’ll be a whole year old.  I’m going to throw the very best 1st birthday party EVER.

Happy half birthday, Monster.

Helmet drama

Everything was going so well.  He didn’t seem bothered by it all.  Slept fine in it and it was like it wasn’t even there.  Until Monday.

Sunday was the first day of 23 hours of wear.  Throughout the night on Sunday Max had a really hard time sleeping (more so than usual), and when we got up Monday I knew why.  His bed had a wet spot where his head was.  His head was oozing something.  I took his helmet off and I was absolutely horrified by what I saw.  His whole head was bright red, swollen and covered in smelly ooze that had turned into a brown crust along the edges of the helmet.  Once I got the helmet off he was fine.  I called my mom and told her what I saw and she told me to call the pediatric advice line.  Well I did and after 30+ minutes on hold, not speaking to anyone, I hung up and decided to just take him to the E.R.

*WARNING*: Kind of sad/graphic photo.  Yes, I took pictures.  Just in case the orthotist wanted to see what his head looked like.  I decided to post only one of what his head looked like.  The other was pretty disturbing.  He was looking a little Freddie Kreuger-ish, but you get the idea from this photo.

The right side of his face was really swollen, as you can see.

We were seen in the E.R. pretty quickly.  They sent us to the pediatric urgent care to see a doctor.  We waited there for an hour.  Yep I brought the camera.

Rob had him belly laughing while waiting for the doctor.

There were a few kids ahead him, but the nurse came out and asked his name and moved him up in line, very nice of her.  Once the doctor came in he had fallen asleep and cried when he was woken up.  That was the only time he cried the whole day.  She told us what we kind of already knew, he had an allergic reaction.  This was the one thing I was so afraid of when I was pregnant.  I didn’t want him to have horribly sensitive skin like me.  She said leave the helmet off (obviously), and give him Benadryl if he seems uncomfortable.  So there it is, our first emergency room visit as parents.  Hopefully there won’t be too many more of those in the future.

I spoke with the orthotist today and we’re keeping our appointment with him on Monday (which was supposed to be for an adjustment) and he’s going to fashion a sort of sock for his head.  He said in the thousand kids he’s put helmets on, Max is the third to have a reaction like this.  I’m worried about putting the helmet back on him.  I don’t want to hurt him anymore.  I can’t help but think if this was his body’s way of saying “Hey!  Don’t do this!”.  This is hard.  I just don’t want him to have another reaction if we put the helmet back on.

His head is looking better and better.  I’ve just been wiping it down with a cool washcloth.  I’m kind of glad he’s not in the helmet right now because this heat is way too much.

On a lighter note his second tooth came in two days after the first one.  So now when he’s being cute and grabbing your finger to put it in his mouth, beware.  Those suckers hurt.

Now I will leave you with a napping Max with his hiney in the air: