Monday, November 28, 2011

The New Normal?

My blog has never been so much about my son as it is about me and infertility, then pregnancy and then motherhood and all the emotions that go with it. But, this post is a little different as it is about a little boy who turned 9 months old this week and turned into a, is what happened:

By about 8 months old, little N was a crawling machine and we knew that it was time to get the house baby proof. We did a few little projects which we thought was enough to protect the man and keep cleaning protects and electronics out of his reach. We thought that was enough and life went along fairly normal.

Turns out this we woke up to a mouse in the house! As C tried to catch it and restore our home to a mouse free environment, I worked to keep N away from traps and the general den area until we could get things cleaned up. In an effort to keep him safe we let him play in another room, one where I had done a project with a staple gun months ago. Since we are often in there, and I had run a vacuum at least a dozen times since my project, I never thought there might be hazards in the form of a few stray staples.

Of course, in the span of 5 minutes of crawling around supervised, N looks up at us with a little shiny thing hanging out of the corner of his mouth. Immediately, we jump up and find that it is indeed a staple and then see a few more on the carpet. The immediate thought is How Many Did He Eat?? When you think about it, it seemed unlikely that he would have swallowed a staple and not coughed or cried or otherwise let us know, but since 9 month olds are not great at communicating, the general consensus was to take him to the emergency room.

After my baby's first x-ray and the swallow test, he got the all clear and we came back home. We were slightly shaken but grateful all was just fine. And after vowing to keep the house even cleaner, life went back to normal.

Normal lasted one day. We have family in town and had everybody over for lunch yesterday. While my SIL and I sat on the floor and talked, N was playing happily in the corner of his bedroom. All of a sudden, he started making a gagging noise and it was clear something was wrong. We jumped up and saw that he had gotten his hands on some cardboard and bit a couple chunks out of the corner. He could breathe, but he was not happy about the cardboard sandwich that he couldn't seem to get out of his mouth.

I was able to stick my finger in his mouth to find the cardboard and triggered his gag reflex, which made him throw up all over himself and my hand and trickle onto the carpet. My sweet SIL got the tub ready and we got N all cleaned up and happy again.

After this, I actually felt pretty confident in my mothering skills. As it is something that I only have 9 months experience with, it felt good to have a problem and jump up and take care of it. After the crazy week, we all came out the other side just fine. After my family left, and N was safely tucked into his bed for the night, I told my best friend over a text about all the chaos.
My best friend is a woman I admire for her no nonsense attitude. She was always the tough one while I was more sensitive and we seemed to fill in where the other was lacking. It has been that was since 10th grade and even though I have moved away, we stay in touch with daily emails and texts and regular calls.

I told her about the chaos, looking and maybe expecting some praise for my excellent mothering skills, some commiseration about the trouble little boys get into (she has a 2 year old son) and a good laugh about how we are in for years of this type of thing...instead, I got a "you shouldn't have stuck your finger down his throat, you could have pushed the cardboard down further." This stung for a few reasons. First, it was not what I expected her to say and second, it made me second-guess my instincts. That sucked. I was proud of my instincts and with one sentence a person that was close to me was able to make me doubt myself. I never responded back to her text.

We took the baby CPR class back when I was pregnant and have the choking chart hanging up in the cabinet by the kitchen phone. I do my best to try and find the happy medium between keeping N safe and letting him explore. I puree everything he eats and don't rush him with more solids like bread and cheerios (even though my Mom thinks I should be giving it to him by now...reserved for another blog post). I still find myself reaching out to make sure he is breathing while he sleeps, just like I did when he was a newborn. I love my baby and the thought that I might have hurt him by trying to help him is making my eyes well up while I am typing this. My best is good enough, right?

He is only 9 months old. I have years of this to go. I don't want to doubt myself. My instincts have gotten me this far. I did the right thing. Why am I so sensitive about something that turned out just fine in the end? What happens next time? I don't want to hesitate and second-guess myself when the next thing happens.

I'm still not sure how to respond to my friend. I may just gloss over what she said and move on. My DH said he was good with what happened and how I reacted. He made the point that maybe we have to make more of a childproofing effort. I agree. Part of me wants to tell my mom what happened, just to hear that she thinks I did good. But, if she goes the way of my friend, I think that might make me more upset. My SIL stayed as calm as me. N is fine, maybe some extra roughage in his diaper today. If this situation happened again, I would do the exact same thing. Where can I find the confidence to trust myself and not look for validation from others?

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Still human

So, I'm feeling like my last couple of posts have been kind of sad. A little edgy too. And in all honesty, it is not a great representation of how I am feeling the majority of the time. I wake up with a full heart, happy to change the diaper of the smiliest baby I could ever be so lucky to have. I cuddle his warm body, vowing to always remember how his soft, cubby thighs feel when I am holding him and how he never hesitates to try to dive headfirst off my lap when he finishes his bottle. I'm so grateful for how sweet natured he is. When he was born, the nurses called him a cuddle bug. My MIL said she just got the feeling he was going to take everything in stride. How, without fail, someone will tell me how he made their day or go out of their way to want to interact with my happy boy. I don't mean to sound braggy. I'm in Love.

I'm still human too though and I much prefer my son's 8am wake up cry to his 6am (or even 4am...) wake up calls. I'm smiling at him through squinty eyes every morning until I can get one or two cups of coffee pumping through my veins. I get concerned with my own energy level and how if I'm tired now and he isn't even walking yet, how on earth am I going to keep up with a toddler? I'm concerned about all the Hersh.ey's nuggets I have eaten in the last few days and stressed that I can't seem to find the motivation to keep my good eating plan on track.

I am very aware that my sensitivity meter is way up. I firmly believe I have less room in my brain for some of the things I used to worry about, but I also feel like I'm extra sensitive to dramatic stories about strangers or even fictional characters. Sometimes shows feel too real, laugh tracks feel too loud, and stories about real people are too stressful to hear. My mom was telling me a story about something she saw on tv (like that show, "I Shouldn't Be Alive" or something) and I could almost feel my breath getting short, like I was running out of air and wanted to change the subject as quickly as possible. What is that feeling? I never acknowledged it out loud, but I wondered if they could tell that I felt that way. I remember feeling a little bit like that when I was a kid (worrying when the kid in a sitcom would do something bad, almost like I was somehow responsible), but this feels very amplified.

I saw a therapist years ago who was very helpful and I feel like this is a good time to get that going again. I don't feel the same desperation for help that I did back then, but I recognize how much it helped me then and that it can help me now. I worry that I won't find someone who I liked as much as my old therapist (I've moved out of state since then) and I need to find the time and energy to get something set up.

I am not quite ready to get into how I am feeling about the possibility of another round of IVF for baby #2. I do know I'm not quite up for another fresh cycle, nor do we have anything close to the money for a fresh round, but with 5 frozen embies, maybe I won't have to. The hope was that we would take this fall/winter to try on our own, maybe we would be surprised. Not yet.

Getting all this down feels good. I've got a lot on my mind and now I feel like I freed up a little more space in my brain. That is some very valuable space. I think I am going to fill it with a little watercolor before bed.

Thanksgiving tomorrow. Gratefulness abounds and a smiley boy awaits.