A blog about babies: the babies I lost, the babies I never had, the baby who made me a Mama.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

This Time Last Year; or, Champagne Wishes and Baby-Filled Dreams

"This time last year" can have such a sad ring in our little corner of the internet: This time last year I thought things would be different. This time last year I thought 2011 would be my year. This time last year I had hope.

I'm remembering what I wrote at the end of 2009. At the end of 2010. How I looked back at years filled with loss and sadness and desperately clawed my way to whatever measure of peace and fulfillment I could. How I tried my damnedest to dwell on lovely vacations and home renovations and every happy moment with Lawyer Guy in order to fight back the darkness that threatened to overwhelm me.

I'm sure I don't need to say how stunningly joyful 2011 was and how gloriously grateful I am that this was, in fact, finally "our year." For me, there is an additional element of reflection, though: the cycle in which Smudgie was created started on New Year's Eve 2010. At every OB appointment, when they asked "When was the date of your last menstrual period," I remembered crying in the Bahamas as I watched the fireworks over the harbor. I remembered holding LG's hand as tight as I could and challenging the future to do it's very best to break me. And I remembered the surge of strength I felt in spite of my tears, knowing that I'd learned how to survive. And once that sort of reminiscence begins, it's hard to stop: I think of my first yoga classes two years ago, how I finished every session crying silently in shavasana and would walk home in the cold and dark praying that all we needed to get pregnant again was a little exercise.

For those of you with new babies or big bellies this year, I hope you spend New Year's Eve drinking in their sweet faces, their beautiful kicks: the most intoxicating champagne I can think of.

And for those still waiting and wishing and despairing, I hope 2012 is the year in which life finally turns sweet again. I'm proof that it can happen more suddenly than you'd believe.

Happy New Year.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Anger Management; or, Past, Present, Future

I've met many new mothers over the past few months. We're all sleep-deprived. We're all adjusting to new routines, new emotions, new bodies. We bond over breast-feeding and bottles, over going back to work or thinking about staying home, about the amazing and exciting strides our little guys and girls make almost every day. Some are younger, some are older, but we've all got something in common.

Still, I don't know if anyone else lost babies. Or if anyone else knows what it's like to sit with pants off on a paper-covered table waiting for doctors to help you make a baby. Or how it feels to stare at your umpteenth negative pregnancy test. Or what it's like to cry as you buy another package of tampons at the drug store. Or how it somehow hurts even more when you stop crying and pick up the tampons like business as usual.

I'm sure there are other people with other stories like mine or stories that put mine to shame. This post isn't really about that. It's about one important discovery I made the other day:

I'm not angry any more.

I can hear about an accidental pregnancy without tears. Or learn that a friend was mostly just freaked when she saw the positive sign without wanting to shank her.

I'm glad my Smudgie was as wanted as a baby could possibly be. I'm glad I knew with every fiber in my heart how lucky I am to have him, how lucky I've always been. There are possibly sad times ahead (though possibly--hey, why not try a little optimism?--we've paid our dues already). But right now, every moment with my little man is a precious kind of perfection.

Thank you for healing my heart, Smudgie dear. I love you, sleepless nights, constant laundry, and all.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Autumn Afternoons for Two; or, Nine Weeks

Smudgie and I are listening to Bach as the winter sun dies outside. Our Christmas tree (his first Christmas tree!) is glowing in the corner of the room. He had his two-month vaccines today, so he's a little out of sorts, fussing and sleeping in his swing.

It's been a busy but happy few weeks. We've met new moms in our neighborhood for walks and yoga classes and happy hours at local bars (nothing like 6 or 7 moms with pints and zonked-out babies occupying the bar stools with their diaper bags and ergo carriers). We've joined a knitting circle of new moms at a local coffee shop. It's both wonderful and heartbreaking how easy it is to meet people with a baby. In the past two months we've made more new friends than in the previous 3 years of living in Park Slope, which I love and feel a little guilty about. We're in the club now, and it's great, which makes the hardness of those years on the outside even sharper. Or maybe makes the happiness of this time even keener.

We've had lots of lovely autumn walks through the park together, just the two of us, Bella sometimes riding along in the lower basket of Smudgie's stroller. We've had lots of leisurely lunches at quiet restaurants chosen. He's a pretty great lunch date.

Smudgie is still teeny-- only 9 lbs 5oz today at 9 weeks and 22 inches. He's in the 25th percentile for length and the 5th for weight. The doctors tell us he's gaining just fine, perfectly on track, and that being small is not a problem. We think he's going to be long and lean, just like his daddy.

Smudgie loves to trade smiles in the mornings and he lights up when he's held up to see the colorful artwork over his crib. He stared mesmerized at the decorated tree last night, most likely captivated by the twinkling little lights. He can flip from belly to back and has been since he was 7 weeks. He's a tummy time champ. He's not the greatest sleeper, but we're getting one 4+ hr stretch a night and hoping he'll start to lengthen that soon.

We've also been dealing with reflux for the last few weeks. Smudgie's constantly wearing a bib these days. Tummy time may at any moment turn into an explosive situation. Spit-up has been known to coat his face and hair, though it doesn't seem to bother him. We've got a prescription waiting in my bag but are waiting to see if he improves at all on his own over the weekend and next week, as the past few days he's fussed and cried and spit up less.

Life with a two-month old is physically and mentally exhausting. But also very sweet.