Second Birth, Not the Same As the First

Sweetpea is 5 weeks old (!) which means it’s high time that I memorialize her birth story before it becomes any more blurry in the rear view mirror.  Here goes!

Like her brother, Sweetpea was induced.  Unlike her brother, she was not induced due to size.  Hers was a scheduling induction due to my maternity leave length and the time we had parental assistance scheduled to be around.  But, we did wait for her to be fully cooked at 40 weeks before pulling the trigger.  Still, it’s kind of bizarre picking your kid’s birthdate.

I had to show up the night before the induction at midnight for an insertion of cervadil with monitoring.  Mr. X came with me to get me settled and then I sent him home to get one last night of uninterrupted sleep in our bed.  My doctor thoughtfully prescribed me an Ambien so that despite being hooked up to machines and IVs and lord knows what else, I slept like a log.  I don’t remember when I woke up the next morning, but I called Mr. X and he showed up for the adventure of the day.

We had to wait until 1pm to let the cervadil do its thing after which my OB came to visit.  We discussed breaking my water or just starting pitocin.  I voted for just the pitocin since the water breakage with Rex was a nightmare.  So, pit was started and contractions came on, but not terribly fast or hard.  At some point, I heard a pop and felt a gush of fluid – my water broke on its own!  I was so thrilled not to have to deal with having it broken.  Of course, things started to get more intense after that.

I made it until about 3:30 and 5cm before asking for the epidural. It took another hour for the doc to arrive to administer it.  Unfortunately, they sent Mr. X out of the room so I had to hug on the surly OB nurse all the while my supposed best friend did his thing.  Epidurals are naturally uncomfortable to begin with but this one was particularly so because I had to pee badly and the contractions were continuing with their thing.  Sitting still so as not to be paralyzed was supremely difficult.

Once it was in, Mr. X was allowed back in, Surly Nurse catheterized me (ouch!) and the bladder pressure eased a bit.  But, while I started getting that super warm tingly feeling in the lower extremities, the actual discomfort of the contractions didn’t get any better.   In fact, it got worse, like very strong pressure on my pelvis.  This coincided with Sweetpea’s heartrate decelerating with each contraction.  Surly Nurse began moving me from side to side and I was given oxygen to help Sweetpea.  Neither of us was doing well at that point.  I knew something wasn’t right, almost like she was being pushed into my pelvis with each contraction.  My OB appeared at that moment having been alerted to Sweetpea’s distress and told me that it could be a number of things including her cord wrapped around limbs or worse her neck.  I was pretty certain this was not the case, but I still knew that Sweetpea wasn’t going to handle a vaginal delivery well.   I told my OB that I didn’t want to chance it and to go ahead with a c-section.

Flurry of activity at that point once the decision was made.  I lost track of Mr. X briefly but he reappeared in the operating room in time for the main event.  Since I already had the epidural, there wasn’t much to do before my doctor started slicing and dicing.  If I never experience someone manipulating my innards while awake, it will be too soon.   Mr. X could probably have lived a very long and pleasant life without seeing my innards manipulated.  But, he did get to see Sweetpea enter the world.  I have vague recollections of her crying and then hearing the nurses laughing because she was peeing and peeing all over them as they were doing her Apgar scores.

I spent a little longer on the operating table because I elected to have my tubes tied.  Why not have it done while I’m already open?  If having your innards manipulated wasn’t weird enough having doctors discussing mundane topics while operating on you while you are awake is just plain bizarre.  My doctor, though, was nice and efficient and I was in recovery in a matter of minutes.  There were some issues with pain control as the morphine just wasn’t doing the trick.  The nurse finally gave me liquid ibuprofen which did the trick.

Sweetpea was brought in to me and I got to finally get a good look at her and saw how absolutely beautiful she was!  She had wispy hair with frosted white tips, just like mine when I was born.  She also latched on like a champ and got some good colostrum before conking out.  I don’t remember how long it took to get me in the post-partum room, but we were all pretty exhausted at that point.  We sent her to the nursery so all of us could sleep but she was brought in to nurse.  And nurse. And nurse. And nurse. It seemed everytime I had just fallen asleep, there was the knock at the door and the sound of the bassinet being wheeled in for another feeding.

I had to remain in bed for 24 hours after the c-section so I was captive to the nurses and anyone else who came in.  Apparently this hospital is also a teaching one because student nurses from the local community college came in All. Day. Long. to check my fundus, ask about my gas (is it passing? yes), look at my incision and take my blood pressure.  Thank goodness I was on pain medication otherwise I would have not been as humoring.  I appreciate they have to learn, but I wish I had been given a choice about whether they would learn on me.  Luckily, the next day they weren’t around and I could recuperate in peace… except for the demolition work going on down the hall.  The joys of an older hospital!

We were all released on three days later and Rex finally got to meet his little sister.  Asking a 2 and almost 3/4 year old his impression of his new sibling is not going to yield a useful answer so I didn’t bother, but I could tell that he was freaked out by her.  He’d seen babies before, but not ones that were now going to live in his house 24/7.  Luckily, we had grandparents around to help him stay grounded and he went to daycare as usual for more normality.

Five weeks on and we’re all settling into the new new routine.  He’s still doing a great job being gentle around his sister and enjoys giving her kisses on her downy little head.  He also likes keeping an eye on her while we change diapers.  He asked to hold her the other day and when I started to put her in his arms, he told me that she was too heavy and ran off to play.

I can’t believe I have two kids.

Tunnel Vision

In law school, grades were determined by attendance and your final exam.  Miss too many classes and you weren’t allowed to even sit for the final exam.  That little gem has caused countless nightmares for me over the years and I’ve been out of school for ten years now.  Knowing that the entire success of the semester depended upon my performance on a three hour test made me a little nervous.  Given how important the final was, the period after Thanksgiving and up through final exams and again after spring break through finals became known as The Tunnel.

Tunnels exist for you to go through to some other location, but in going you have to travel the dark, rather scary interior that is not very well lit and full of hazards if you dare go too fast.  The promise of course, is that you will emerge on the other side in the light and will have traveled to some new location that you were seeking.  In law school, this meant the end of constant studying, worrying, and the chance to be a normal person again who wasn’t expected to process a semester’s worth of information and knowledge on a three page exam.

I had forgotten from Rex’s newborn phase that this fourth trimester is yet another Tunnel.  I’m hunkered down, plowing through Sweetpea’s newborn days as best as I can waiting for the sunlight (a social smile perhaps? maybe a coo?) at the end of the journey.  We planned a little better for this tunnel, though.  We have more help – both of the family and hired kind – and we also know, beyond a shadow of a doubt that it will get better, lighter and easier.  All I have to do is look at Rex and remember that he too was a squwaking infant not all that long ago and now he’s telling us about his day at pre-school and who was put in time out and then sleeping through the night.

To her credit, Sweetpea is a real treat of a baby.  I never had those snuggly feelings with Rex thanks in part to the whack job of PPD and in part because he was never a snuggly infant.  He was a bruiser of a child even when he was born and not very compact.  Sweetpea, though, is tiny in comparison to her brother in his infant days and is like a feather to carry.  She fits perfectly in the crook of the neck and has extremely kissable cheeks.  Getting to dress her in onesies with kittens is just icing on the cake.

She even has done us the favor of waking up to feed only twice in a night already.  She’s also having more periods of awake time, watching her brother’s antics and following our movements.  Most importantly to me and my anal retentive heart, she’s being rather receptive to getting into somewhat of a routine, as much as a newborn can have a routine.  It was the disruption of the routine with addition of newborn Rex that really threw me for a loop and I recognized the same feelings coming back once we got Sweetpea back home.  But, again, I know this time that a routine will be established, one that has a place for all of the creatures in the house and even some time for Mr. X and I to enjoy each others company over an episode of Game of Thrones.

Rex, for his part, is doing better with the newest addition. We’ve been very proactive in making certain he knows that he’s still important and loved and part of our home.  He loves to supervise sister’s diaper changes from his stool that he keeps by her changing table and is very good at picking out outfits for her to wear when she needs a change.  He likes to kiss her fuzzy little head and then go back to watching Backyardigans.  He still goes to daycare and gets a good deal of structure and stimulation there so he’s not completely wound up at home.  Weekends are still a challenge, trying to figure out how to work everything that we need to do into the day with Sweetpea’s napping needs and Rex’s playing needs.  But I know that it will come.

Just like in law school where the calendar showed the last day of finals and the end of The Tunnel, I can see the end of the transition and can take a lot of comfort in knowing that while difficult and painful, we are not in a permanent state of flux.

Honey, Hand Me the Vinegar

I had heard that the first year of a marriage after a child is born can be tough.  I didn’t give it much thought at the time.  We were too busy trying to have the kid, so I wasn’t going to worry about what would happen when we had the kid.  I also figured that our marriage had already been Tested by so many things – a full house renovation, a hurricane, two kittens, five years of infertility, two miscarriages, a rescue dog – that having a baby, something that we wanted so badly, couldn’t possibly put us asunder.

Then we had Rex.  And my husband went from being my partner to being  another child constantly needing something and not helping.  At least, that’s how it felt at the time to my PPD-addled severely hormonal whack jobbed brain.  As the sleep deprivation and depression worsened and the laundry and dishes piled up, what had worked in our marriage before as an equitable distribution of the chores turned into an exercise in score keeping and endless events in the Most Tired Olympics.   It drove me crazy that he would come home from work and go on and on about how hard his day was and (I perceived) wanted my sympathy when I had been taking care of our son all day, which was the hardest thing I had ever done in my entire life, thank you very much.

Via Flickr Creative Commons by alsjhc

I see now that we were both thrown for a terrific loop when Rex was born which should not have come as much of a shock as it did.  We dealt with the curve ball in our own ways, which for all other major tests had worked fine, but for this one didn’t work at all.  One problem, of course, is that I wasn’t coping hardly at all with the loop and Mr. X was left trying to cope for both of us.  When I did try to cope I turned to keeping score on who did how many chores, how many hours of baby care, how many night wakings, etc. so that I didn’t feel like I was the only one doing anything.  I would build these ‘babycare points’ and try to redeem them for chore duties such as taking out the trash (yay! something easy that doesn’t scream!) or grocery shopping just to be able to do something that I knew I could do and do well.  I also desperately wanted to feel normal, at least for a little while.  How awful is that?

And, I felt like Mr. X was contributing to the problem, not helping.  I began impersonating a snapping turtle when I was around him.  I had an over abundance of frustration, anger and just sheer angst fueled by PPD and sleep deprivation that I would take out on him.  I couldn’t (and never had even a whiff of desire to) take it out on Rex.  In the 20/20 rear view mirror, I see that he did the absolute best that he could considering he had a hormonally challenged wife suffering from PPD, a job to hold down (including a job transfer that was foisted on him the day he got back from his paternity leave) and a newborn who did the usual typical baby things like screaming, explosive pooping and erratic sleeping.  And, bless his heart, he loved me anyways.  He must have been just as frustrated as I was but he kept holding us afloat.

Even in those dark days, though, I never told Mr. X how I felt.  I could see nothing good coming from that and I knew deep down in that tiny little sane place in my brain that I was really, really out of whack and not seeing things as they really were.  But, I did a lot of thinking and soul searching.  I addressed a lot of my long standing issues, issues that had been around long before Rex arrived on the scene but that I could ignore and still have a relatively easy life.   Now, though, everything was on the table, including how I would treat Mr. X.  I decided to make a conscience effort to just be kind to him.  No matter what.  No matter what question he asked, no matter what he messed up, no matter anything.  And, it’s been working.  It’s also been coming back to me.   I can tell he’s thrilled to have his wife back.  I’m so glad I could get back to him too.

Grace in Small Things 2/3/2011

Day started out C-O-L-D but ended nice and warm.

1) Got to see lots of family whom I haven’t seen for some time.  It was absolutely wonderful and inspiring.

2) This was my view this afternoon.  3) Walking on that beach.

4) Hearing how much fun my parents are having taking care of Rex.

5) Reading my Bar Journals that have been accumulating over the past several months, including the edition about attorneys and mental health. It has inspired me to try to start a postpartum depression support group for attorneys in my area.  I know of at least one attorney who committed suicide last year due to postpartum depression and it should never have happened. Maybe a group of attorneys who know of the pressures would have been able to help her.

10. Months. Old.

We have double digits, people.  Rex is 10 months old.  Babies who were not even conceived when he was born have completely gestated and joined the world.  The seasons have changed and changed  back again.  And, Mr. X and I have been doing this parenting thing for a little over 300 days.  We have all grown so much since then.  But Rex’s statistics of growth are so much more interesting than ours. So, here they are.


The boy is gargantuan.  He is larger than the 14 month olds in his day care class and has been mistaken for a one year old for a few months now.  But, he’s proportional and super strong.  He can pull small lamps off of tables with no difficulty.  And watch out if he has it in his head to pull on your scarf while its on your neck.  Learned that one the hard way last week. Oof.

He has a beautiful head of blonde hair and will soon need to be trimmed because it can get in his gorgeous large blue eyes.  He has two teeth, both on the bottom, one still not quite in yet.  We can hear him using them when crunching Baby Mum Mum’s.

He’s now wearing little shoes during the day to help give him traction as he is pulling up on things and thinking about cruzing the furniture.  He’s begun to practice walk with Grandpa as well as Mr. X and I.  So cute.


Rex has discovered his voice and loves to trill up through the various registers.  He is also learning the art of the grunt as well as the whine.  Crying is no longer just for when he is hurt or hungry.  It’s for when mommy takes away his blue bucket in the bathtub or takes away a treasured, but totally dangerous toy.

‘Mama’s’ and ‘dada’s’ are par for the course and we are pretty certain that he has said Dada at Mr. X and meant it.  It also sounded like he said, “Hey you” to the cat the other day, but we could just be hearing things. Or my child could just be a genius. Guess which one I’m leaning toward?

We are actively pointing at things with him and saying their names.  He’s beginning to point at the dog and saying a ‘duh’ sound.  Maybe, as in “Duh! It’s a dog, lady. Everyone knows that!”


We are week four into Operation Substitute Food for Simicrack and so far so good. We’ve been slowly reducing his formula intake for greater intakes of finger foods and strained foods.  He’s getting more insistent about feeding himself which is fun to watch, since half of the food ends up in his lap or on the floor.

He’s a champ with the sippy cup and loves to bang it on the high chair for maximum noise effect.


Daycare is reporting that naps are getting harder and harder for him.  He’s just so darned excited about everything, all the things to do, the people to see the things to try.  I can’t say I blame him.  The good news is that we don’t have much difficulty with naps at home on the weekends, so we suspect that it is a daycare thing, not a nap crisis thing.

We are all getting good long, rest in the evenings.  I will say no more lest I jinx it to hell.

We’re already planning Rex’s 1-year birthday bash.  Mind you, this party is about 80% for us and 20% for him.  The theme: He Thrived, We Survived.  There will be alcohol.

Confessions of An Introvert Mom

I am the introverted daughter of a librarian.  This means that I like books more than people.   (Not you, of course. Just everyone else.)


jbwan via Flickr Creative Commons

Being introverted also means that I require a lot of time to myself to recharge.  A lot of time.  If you are thinking that this is likely incompatible with an infant, you are correct (see why I still prefer you to books?).  In fact, it seems like I require even more time than I did before Rex was born which is probably a direct proportional response to the amount of time that Rex deserves and requires.

Because Rex, being human and all, is a person who requires heavy interaction and entertainment, two things that easily drain my battery faster than your average person to person contact.  I’ve never been good at entertaining someone else for long periods of time – even adults! So, entertaining a baby for long stretches has been really hard for me.  Rex, bless his heart, is becoming every day more and more of a joy to entertain, though.  No adults I know give me such huge smiles or giggle at the simple things like he does.  Granted, very few would also probably let me tickle them.


I can always tell when I haven’t had enough me time.  I begin to get cranky, even with Mr. X’s company.  I feel physically and emotionally exhausted and want just to go somewhere quiet for a while to be alone.  Of course, with a baby, that’s not always feasible.  I refuse to short Rex time with me because of my need for ‘me-time’ but negotiating away me time is also not an option.  The solution?

I take it where I can find it.  This has meant getting creative about fitting it into my day, especially since I’m still working to pay for those diapers and the SimiCrack (not to mention socking away cash for the ballooning college education expenses).

I’ve become more disciplined about how I spend the time that I do have allocated.  Gone are the days of aimlessly surfing the net.  I read, sew or (gasp!) work on my book (aren’t we all?).  If I find that I’m feeling particularly drained in a day and don’t have any long stretch available in the near term, I will take a quickie 5 minute break and read a trashy novel.  Works like a charm every time.


I’ve also allowed Mr. X to help me.  Yes, you read that right.  I’ve come to realize that more often than not, I was not letting him help mainly because it was so much easier for me to do whatever it was that needed to be done.  The down side of this, of course, is that I was doing everything.  Stuff was getting done, but I was slowly losing my mind because let’s face it, folding the laundry, while productive and useful, is not a substitute for recharging time.  I realized that it was ok to let the clean laundry sit around until Mr. X got around to putting it away.  The world would not end, and it turns out that his schedule is not terribly later than mine.  So, rather than spend that time folding laundry or any number of things that need to be done but not right at this very moment, I will take that time to peruse a magazine, or play with the dog, or just be.

I’ve been able to squirrel away enough me time for now so that I feel normal again.  I’ve also recognized that I need me time like diabetics need insulin.  It’s what makes me work, makes me be able to take the daily onslaught with a modicum of grace and humor.  I also know that I can always find five minutes and I’m allowed to take them, if I need them, to recharge.

Thankful to Feel Thankful

I’m a little late for a thankful Thanksgiving post, but I was rather occupied over the holiday overeating and chasing after the now vigorously crawling Rex (“no, not the fireplace, Boo Boo!”).  And, I had a hard time summoning the blogging mojo after all was said and done.  But, I wanted to share with all of you lovelies who still indulge me.

I have so much to be thankful for, but you know what I am most thankful for?  I am most thankful that I can feel thankful.

Via Creative Commons by Kyle Steed

Because, there was a time not so long ago when thankful was the last thing I would have felt.  Overwhelmed, sad, tired, tired, trapped, anxious – these were all things I felt.  I was so afraid that I had made the biggest mistake of my life becoming a mother.  I didn’t recognize my life anymore and I longed for earlier days when life was boring and predictable and, yes even infertile, because at least then I wouldn’t have to deal with such constant uncertainty and upheaval.  Yeah, really.

I had no perspective on my life, no measure to determine if I was really foundering as much as I felt.  I thought I was a terrible mother to Rex.  Sure, I met his needs, but I wasn’t as much fun as daddy or as loving as his grandmother.  I was pretty certain that he didn’t like me very much and I realized that I agreed with him. I didn’t like me very much either. I could not see how Rex could love me since I didn’t see anything really worth loving.

I made a decision – I could continue down this road of being my own worst enemy or I could slowly begin to love me for me.  I took baby steps in the beginning – no more nasty thoughts about myself, no more worries about what other people thought about me.  In the end, I don’t have to live with them for the rest of my life, but I sure as shit have to live with myself, so why not get along with me?

And I began to feel such peace.  Peace with me, peace with my life.  I accept my life now, all of it.  I embrace it, warts and all.  I see the joy in it and I also see the mundane.  And both are ok.  And, I’m becoming friends with me.  I like myself more.  I put that nasty little voice in a box and sit on the lid. And at the end of each day, I sit back and go over my day thinking about the highlights – good hair day, wonderful moment with Rex, good conversation with Mr. X, delicious glass of wine, and savor those moments.  I congratulate myself on successfully navigating situations that would have earlier brought me nothing but angst.

And, I feel thankful. Thankful for my wonderful family, for this beautiful boy who I grew and nurtured and now get to watch every day interacting with the world. Thankful that I persevered through the dark times to get to this light.  Thankful that I made the conscious decision to be present.

To Rex, On Your 8 Month Birthday

Dear Rex:

Eight months ago, we met you.  They put you on my chest and you looked at me with the most priceless “What the F***?!” look I think I have ever seen.  It was so appropriate, too.  You had quite a journey to land there and then what do you see? A very sweaty, teary lady with the exact same expression on her face.

Marcus Ramberg via Flickr Creative Commons

We have been through quite a lot since then, you and I and your daddy.  A learning curve so steep it sometimes felt like we would fall off into the abyss.  Numerous comparisons to raising animals, including the unfortunate habit of saying that we were taking you to the vet instead of the pediatrician.  Sleepless nights.  Sleepless days.  Hard work, which was play for you and work for us.  Lots of crying – mostly you, but some me.

And now, finally, joy.  You, simply, are a joy.  Your laugh is easily one of the most wonderful sounds I’ve ever heard and you smile with your entire face.  You are babbling now, saying “mamamama” and “dadada”.  I could really care less which becomes your official first word because I’m holding out for “dog”. It is amazing watching and hearing you acquire language.

You are beginning to crawl – that stomach scoot that is perfected in boot camp by army recruits.  You are inextricably drawn to the most dangerous objects on the floor and make a regular beeline for the animals.  The dog, for one, is becoming more wary of your little grabbing hands since they typically grab for his tail.  On the bed, you immediately head for the edge or the nightstands with their sharp, wood edges.  I can’t tell if its because you are a boy or that they are sending out some high frequency siren call that only you can hear.  You are moving us into keeping-us-on-our-toes territory.

You love to play cowboy on Grandpa’s lap and continue bouncing even when he stops.  You watch what we eat very intently and frequently make a grab for something that appears appetizing.  You love paper.  You love to crinkle it, to wave it in the air and to eat it, especially the light paper they put on the exam table at the doctor’s office.  Daylight savings time has wreaked a little havoc on your wake up time, but otherwise, you are a good sleeper.  You now sing when you wake up and can do it for up to an hour before you get cranky (we know, we’ve timed you).  When we do go in to get you up for the day, you do the worm out of sheer joy at seeing us and shoot us megawatt smiles.

These first eight months of your life have not been easy for you or for us.  But, thank you for being patient with us as we learned how to be your parents.  We’re still learning (and will be doing so for the next 18 years) but you are a joy to learn on.  And, while there are still days when I miss my old freedoms (Teen Mom marathon? Sign me up!), you make us laugh or display a new skill and I can let go of that former life without as much difficulty.

I am so excited to watch you grow, my little man.



Do I Know You?

In those first few years after Mr. X and I were married, there were times when I would find myself looking at him thinking, “Who is this guy and how did we get here?”  For as much as I knew him, physically, emotionally, intellectually, he was still sometimes this strange person in my house who I didn’t recognize from my former life.

Peek A Boo

If I had those moments with a man who I knew for three years before I married him, then you can only imagine how many of those moments I am having with Rex.  Let’s just say lots.  Part of the difficulty is that I have a hard time seeing me in him.  He is the spitting image of his father at this age.  I knew even on the 18-week ultrasound who he took after in the looks department.  Seriously.  The chin, the profile, it was Mr. X, which of course prompted a little IVF humor – at least we know they didn’t use the wrong sperm!

Even now, at almost 8 months, Rex is a bit of a mystery to me.  I’m still having a hard time reconciling the baby I knew for 9 months on the ultrasound screen, and then later through the belly Olympics to the one who is starting to crawl and wants to eat the dog’s tail.  He is his own little person who is slowly, but surely, developing his own personality.  The good news is that it looks like it’s a wonderful personality that is a joy to see emerging each day a little more.  And, he is starting to have a sense of humor, playing peek-a-boo or giggling while being tickled (his baby love handles are a particularly fertile spot for giggle induction).  I’m also starting to see me in him, particularly the eyes.

While this getting-to-know-you phase still sometimes makes me panic – oh my God! I’m sharing my home with this little strange alien creature who shrieks and emits foul smells and it feels like it’s going to be this way for the next 17 1/2 years! – I’m making a concerted effort to take a more positive spin on the situation:  he’s like a gift that we are slowly unwrapping; a flower blooming; a volcano erupting (er, or maybe not).   Each day, we find something new.

We are getting to know each other as people do.  I have to remind myself that he is getting to know us (and all of human kind at the same time), too.  So far, he’s doing a pretty darn good job of it.  I know that sooner rather than later, it will seem as if we have known each other forever and that was the way it was always meant to be.

My Day of Reckoning

I knew this day would come.  It was only a matter of time.  It was when, not if.  I knew that I would have my day of reckoning and I would have to face my worst fear.  That day arrived recently, later than I thought it would, but still earlier than I would have liked.

See, Rex had a virus thingy that Kept. Coming. Back. bringing with it a pesky low grade fever that did not appear to bother him in the slightest but bothered day care because sick babies don’t belong at day care.  It was never a scary illness, it was the Virus du Jour making its rounds of all the kids and he managed to catch it.

It was this illness that brought me face to face with my greatest fear: staying home with Rex all day. By myself.  The panic that I felt welling up inside me that Thursday night when I took his temperature, watching that damn thermometer go up like  Chris Farley’s blood pressure rating, was similar to the feeling when I realized that I had hit a bicyclist with my car back in law school.  It was the panic that I felt when I realized that our first baby had died.  In other words, it was gut-wrenching, breath-sucking panic.  It made my teeth hurt.

How is it possible that I have never spent an entire day at home with my baby by  myself?  Well, even during maternity leave, I had someone there at least part of the time, either my mom or my mother in law or my wonderful friend.  And then, and now, he is in day care.  And, Mr. X is home on the weekends, so poof, all seven days of the week accounted for.

The day for me to face the fear had come.  And, all I could see stretching before me was the endless day of me holding a constant one-sided conversation with Rex or worse, listening to him cry before succumbing to a nap and then waiting on pins and needles for him to wake up.   What if he should get it in his head to be cranky? There would be no one there I could say, can you just let me have 5 minutes? And for that matter, what would I do with him all day?  When we first brought him home, I kept asking myself this question. What does one do with a newborn all day? The obvious answer now is feed him, change him and get him to sleep by whatever means necessary.  But, at the time, I was clueless.

Even now, it’s not the most intuitive thing for me to be at home with him.  He’s on a schedule now for feeding and napping, but during the other time, I look at him quizzically and ask, what should we do? And he looks right back at me and drools.  He’s as clueless as I am.  We end up in a cycle of playyard, jumperoo, throne, quilt on the floor with toys, (me) reading books to him while he tries to eat the books, going outside, taking a walk, etc., etc.  It makes me exhausted just thinking about it.

In the end, though I managed. Frankly, I managed pretty darn well.  Mr. X came home at lunch to relieve me for a little bit so I could go out and get us lunch.  Rex decided that naps were the new black and took two ginormous ones, one in the morning and one the afternoon.  And, I wasn’t exhausted at the end as I had thought I would be.  I was tired, to be sure, but not physically and emotionally drained as I had felt on prior occasions when I was the sole caretaker for more than a few hours.

I know now that some of my panic was in the not knowing: not knowing if I would be able to do it, not knowing when it was going to happen.  Just the sheer act of doing it and getting through it relatively unscathed has given me a great deal of confidence.  It has also reinforced what I’ve suspected for a long time: I am not cut out for being a stay at home mom.  Oh, do I salute you ladies who do it and do it well, day in and day out.  Give me a contract to review or a nasty letter to respond to any day.

Even though we had a good day together when he was home with me, the time that we have when he comes home from day care is that much more special.  I kiss his big cheeks within an inch of his life and he squeals in delight.  We’ve both had a good day, then.

photo: Vandelizer