Friday, September 13, 2013

Little baby, big baby

9/13/13 Note: This was a post that I had written around Easter time that got lost in the recesses of the Draft section.

The Easter Bunny was good to Collin this year, in that he brought him his first excuse to PIMP  the jacket that makes him look like my grandpa Morton from The Old Country. In a good way.
It was the first piece of clothing, amongst a pile of "First  Clothing", that we got at a yard sale on a Saturday morning when we first found out we were pregnant. I had just finished working a night shift, and we had no intentions of garage sale shopping, but there it was on the side of the road. We suddenly found ourselves descending upon it like a Lion on the slow buffalo at the watering hole. Without saying, we both knew exactly what we were looking for: baby stuff. Any kind of baby stuff. And boy, did we find it (those people had twins!).
We had no idea what the sex of the baby was (which was irrelevent,  because we never ended up finding out for the whole duration of the pregnancy), but we knew that that child of ours, girl or boy, was going to own that jacket. And then we looked at each other and we suddenly knew, for the first time, that we were going to be parents. Real parents. But most of all, we knew we were going to love it, and we were going to have an awesome kid, a kid we were going to be proud of and find joy in.
I think it was then that I hit a new phase of my life. Motherhood. The shock of the positive pregnancy test wore off, and I was plunged into new waters, a place I had been yearning for for so long. Suddenly, nothing was more  important to me than that little life I was chosen to bear, to sustain, to nurture. I made it my life's work.
But back to the Easter Bunny, who was also good to Collin in that he brought Collin his alligator family. The alligator family started out as one rubbery lizard, followed by a package of cheap, plastic lizards, that became babies. So the big lizard became the daddy. Oh, and they're all alligators. Or, "Ayegaygahs."
I'm always finding Papa "Ayegaygah" lounging around in the weirdest positions, so of course I've developed the odd habit of photographing him.
I don't know why.

Update 9/13/13: Daddy Ayegaygah is now just Daddy Lizard. The original Daddy Lizard disappeared one day, and Collin never stopped searching for him. For a while, we were reading The Velveteen Rabbit, and I tried to use the Nursery Fairy idea from the story. "Oh, perhaps the Nursery Fairy has taken Daddy Lizard to the redwoods to be a Real lizard, just like the Velveteen Rabbit." Collin would just look at me blankly. Not buying it, mom.
Thankfully, we happened to find a brand new Daddy Lizard at Rite Aid. Collin was SO excited to "Find" him. But what's with that extra white paint on his mouth? Daddy Lizard didn't have that before he got lost. Must have been eating too much vanilla ice cream at Rite Aid.

Pregnancy: Version 2.0

It's been eighteen weeks since I went to the doctor's office for a pre-surgery appointment, only to find out there would be no surgery for me anytime in the near future. I was pregnant.

This is a picture of us, taken by my doctor, moments after we found out. Collin is holding my positive pregnancy test in a sample cup. We are elated, and stunned. Or, if you're Collin, very confused, but happy that everyone else is happy.

So funny that my last blog post was about feeling ready to be pregnant. So much has happened between that post, and this one. Shortly after I wrote my last post, I was hospitalized for a ruptured ovarian cyst, and began a long medical drama that I thought would never end. The pain from the cyst never stopped. I was bounced from one doctor to another, in almost constant, unbearable pain. Finally, my regular OB returned to work from her maternity leave, immediately pinpointed what was likely the key issue (Endometriosis), and implemented a plan to fix it (minor lacroscopic surgery). God bless her. Only, I had to throw a wrench in her plans, and get pregnant. The funny thing is, by that point, after being out of commission for so long, both Husband and I were beginning to wonder if we were really ready for a second baby. Add financial stress to the mix, and we were REALLY wondering. Ironically enough, I was prepared to ask my doctor about putting in an IUD during surgery, something I never thought I was willing to do.

As for the pain, it's gone now. Thank you, pregnancy hormones! The natural progesterone in pregnancy is an endometriosis pain killer.

So now, there's going to be four of us. I'm almost halfway through the pregnancy already, which feels surreal. This whole scenario feels surreal. Collin is such a big part of our lives right now, and has been since the moment I found out I was pregnant with him, that it's hard to factor in a new baby. I routinely forget I'm pregnant, until I feel a little reminder kick. It's so different from my first pregnancy, where I was SO aware of the baby, that there was no room for anything else in my life. Baby was all I could think about. I had wanted to be a mother for so long. I always figured I would be married three to five years before having kids, but it never worked out that way. I was married and pregnant in the same year. I was happy to have Husband in my life, but there was something missing, a piece to the puzzle that felt like a gaping hole. We wanted a baby so badly. We needed a baby. When Collin came along, we were complete. Almost complete. We still knew we wanted more children, but didn't know how or when. We had our ideal timing (which, accidentally, happened to be the way it worked out) and felt the baby fever kicking in again. We started trying, but I wasn't conceiving, and then the whole endometriosis circus came to town, and I was beginning to wonder if it could be causing infertility. I had a lot of questions, and I was coming up confused, and empty.

I'm not worried at all about the baby. I've been there, I've done that, I know what I'm doing. I'm not worried at all about the birth. The baby is going to come out any way it comes out. I'm going to be receiving great medical care, and doula support this time. And believe me, Collin was a giant newborn- he has paved the way. In my mind, there is a high likelihood of this birth being a lot smoother than my first. I'm not really worried about much, to be honest, save for Collin's reaction to the baby. Thankfully, he LOVES babies. I mean, he loves them more than any other two-year-old boy I have ever seen. He seeks them out and talks to them and kisses them. He has been so fascinated by this whole process, and regularly talks to the baby in my belly. I'm not delusional enough to think he'll welcome a newborn into our lives without a glitch, but I do have much confidence in him. He's going to make a great big brother.

I have mixed reactions when I think about the new baby. On one hand, it will be great, and I know this. It will be so great. I will have another little person to fall in love with, and I'm amazed. On the other hand, I know exactly what I'm getting into. I know I won't sleep again for another two years. I know I will have moments where I feel overwhelmed. I know my house is going to lose all sense of order and baby chaos will descend upon us. This time, without the luxury of a dish washer OR access to laundry machines. But, I am looking forward to having a little more space this time around, as opposed to the first time we brought home a baby to our studio apartment. It will be nice to have a little breathing room. We're in a one-bedroom now, which still means we all still sleep together in a big pile, but at least it's a very spacious one bedroom. And as for the sleeping arrangements (We've been getting a lot of questions about that), we would all sleep in a pile even if we lived in a five bedroom house. We are in love with co-sleeping. It has NOT always been easy, but it has bonded us as a family in ways I can't even describe. I can't wait to do it again (even though I know it will mean nursing all night, and occasionally waking up covered in pee from a diaper explosion).

Collin is such a big boy now, it kind of makes sense to be having another baby. Babyhood is something I feel like I know like the back of my hand. I was so engrossed in Collin's babyhood, that I almost feel out of place without a baby in my arms. Does that make sense? I suppose it's because I came alive when Collin was born. I found my calling. Motherhood is the only thing in my life that has felt so instinctual and made so much sense, even when it was really difficult. And it was, don't get me wrong. There were many moments where I felt like the most inadequate mom in the world. But, at the end of the day, I knew I was exactly where I needed to be. Collin is getting so big, so fast. I can hardly keep up. Thankfully, he makes a great two-year-old. I'm not saying he doesn't have moments where he's on the floor screaming because his banana broke. And let's not forget the boundless energy that makes him zip around the house like a wind-up toy. But he's always had such a knack for making me laugh, and I feel like it's only gotten better as he gets older. The way the first thing he says when he sits up in bed every morning is, "I need coffee." The way he loves to be wrapped up in a towel like a burrito and asks me to pretend to be his mommy burrito. It's the little things that keep me smiling all day. Even though he is a big boy now, he's still so little and innocent. He is still so optimistic about the world and everyone around him. I treasure the way he is right now. I know strawberries won't be pronounced "Sawbooies" and blueberries won't be pronounced "Boobooies" forever, and that makes me nostalgic and a little sad. But then, I remember I get to do it all over again with the coming baby, and I feel relieved, with a healthy dose of "Oh my god. All. Over. Again."

I mean, it did take us two years to get this far, and in that way, I kind of can't believe we're going to start from square one again. A newborn. Up all night. Pooping yellow mustard poops. Crying whenever we put it down. Oh my god.

There will be big, big changes coming up for our little family in the next year. Not just talking about a brand new life entering the world, which is plenty big enough. I'm trying to remain optimistic about everything, and remain an open book waiting to be written. I am remaining in a space of acceptance and calm. At least, for now. We'll see where this next year takes us!