Monday, January 19, 2015

One Year of Motherhood

A lot of people say that the first birthday celebration is really for the parents. And yes it is.  When I look back at where we were this time last year, I think about that damn notebook.

The notebook that our childbirth educator recommended. She said we would be glad to have a notebook with us during labor and delivery and that we could use it to jot down different things the doctors say and the things you will maybe want to remember after the baby is born. So we innocently picked up a tiny notebook at the dollar store and stashed it in the hospital bag. I felt very prepared. I had a notebook and I was going to use it to keep track of anything I might need to--so maybe I wouldn't feel so lost.

We Christened our notebook the night I went into labor. We played one game of Quiddler to distract me and we opened up our little notebook to keep score (and yes, I won--even in labor). After JaiseAnn was born, Zach took out the notebook again to write down the phone numbers of people in my phone so he could send everyone the much-awaited, "She's here!" text with JaiseAnn's picture. Yes, our notebook had a great and exciting start.

And then our notebook started to track every pee and poop. Every feeding--from which side and how long. Each entry another thing to add to my list of worries in my brain as I awaited the next pee, poop, or feeding. Would she meet her quota? Would I meet mine?

And then she didn't gain enough weight and we had to add pumping sessions and supplemental feedings. I, of course, diligently kept track of those. I'm not sure why I tracked those things, now, though. To show someone, maybe even just myself, that I was doing what I was supposed to be doing. That I was trying. That I did care.

Because sometimes I felt like it looked like I didn't. I was an emotional and physical wreck and nursing was rough for us to begin with. And I just wanted to throw in the towel on so many different things. I wanted to stop caring about ounces fed and pumped and gained. I wanted to stop counting diapers dirtied and hours between feedings. I wanted to throw that notebook out the window.

In addition to those things, though, I was also taking three different blood pressure medications. One every twenty four-hours, one every eight hours, and one every six hours. I had alarms set on my phone to wake JaiseAnn to feed her and then pump and then other alarms on my phone to take my medications. More than one time I made a four a.m. call to the on-call doctor because I had taken the wrong pill at the wrong time. So I started logging EVERY SINGLE time and pill and dosage in that notebook. When my alarm went off I double checked my medicine with the notebook, took my pill, and crossed it off in that notebook.

 I also had to track my blood pressure three different times a day. I carried that notebook with me each day as I called to report my blood pressure with the doctor and it accompanied me to the appointments not long after where I showed my progress and eventually was able to wean myself off the pills entirely.

While the notebook started out in good standing with me, I began to hate it. It stood for every worry I didn't ever know I would have. It reminded me of every thing that could go wrong and I hated it. I had a new life in my home and I wanted to enjoy her and celebrate her. But, honestly, at the beginning--there were times that I just couldn't. I was too consumed with worry, with fear, with the unknown, and with the logistics of every pill, diaper, and feeding.

When I think of where we were a year ago there are days that I get sad. My little baby girl who once spent hours at a time nestled up against my chest in a a deep sleep, is now a one year old little girl. She is growing in independence and sass. She doesn't have time to give mom kisses or to even be bothered to smile for a picture. And boy, have I shed a few tears over that.

 But her birthday was a celebration for me for sure. We made  it! We got through some of the hardest days I have ever experienced with feelings I didn't know were possible.We had some of the sweetest moments I have never even knew to wish for...smiles and giggles--first steps and favorite foods. We have truly experience life for an entire year.

We were in a place that I don't want to revisit last year--well maybe to hold my beautiful little girl and snuggle her. But we are in such a better place now. We still don't really have any idea what we are idea how things will look for us a week or month or year from now. We mostly don't really know how we'll deal with the fun things the toddler years will bring like tantrums and big girl attitude. But we were given an entire year with the most beautiful soul I've known. And that was my gift. It was a gift every single day this year and we celebrated. We celebrated her and we celebrated us. We can't wait to see what the next 365 hold. They're certainly off to a better start.

Now as for that I keep it or throw it away? Do you have an equivalent to my notebook?

To read about my adventures through motherhood over the past year, click here.

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