Wow, I can't believe that Tristan is six months old. I'm always thinking that I'm going to start a journal about him, and then I never have time. But I'm going to start now before too much time gets away from me.
Tristan Wyatt was born on Monday, June 09, 2008 at 11:12 am. I think that the birth was a pretty "normal" one, if there is such a thing. My water broke at about midnight the night before, so we went to the hospital even though I wasn't yet feeling any contractions. I was only 37 weeks pregnant, but I had been expecting to go at any time because at my last doctor's visit my doctor told me that I was 80% effaced, 2 cm dilated, and "(my) bag of waters (was) bulging." Plus, I had been nesting like crazy that Sunday before he was born. Only, I don't nest like normal people, cleaning and what not. I hoarded food!
See, on Sunday morning I woke up with this crazy fear that I was going to have the baby and we weren't going to have any food to eat. Keep in mind that I live in the middle of suburbia, minutes away from grocery stores, restaurants, fast food joints, et cetera. Somebody would have to break both mine and my DH's legs for us to starve to death. But suddenly that seemed like a very real possibility, what with the new baby and all. So I called my MIL and made her take me shopping. I think I cleaned the grocery store out of canned soups, lunch meats, frozen pizzas and burritos. Plus, I wanted to cook! We cooked and froze 7 large casseroles, plus 6 individually wrapped stuffed peppers and some stir fry. I don't know what my MIL thought - I guess she just got bowled over by my tidal wave of crazy because she went along with it and helped me cook all afternoon.
Once the last casserole was labeled and stuck in the freezer and my MIL had fled, I sat down and I thought to myself. "Okay, I'm ready." That night, I went into labor.
So, pretty normal labor. I thought maybe I would try a natural birth. Then around 4 am I went into back labor and decided that natural birth was a concept made up by mysogenists, so I got the drugs, which I loved until about 9:30 am when they wore off and nothing anyone could do could make them work again.
Pushed for a half an hour (and actually, maybe weirdly, pushing was my favorite part. I think fondly back on pushing) and then hey presto, Kiddo was born.
I don't really know what to say about those first days after Kiddo was born when we were still in the hospital. They kind of have this dreamlike quality, like I was about half asleep most of the time, but some memories are still vivid and sharp.
Of course, I remember the first time I saw Kiddo as he slid out of me. DH says he looked like a pterodactyl, and I'll never admit this to DH but he kind of did. It was just the way he was holding his arms and fingers, like a pterodactyl swooping in for the kill.
I remember the first time I saw my naked body after giving birth, my tummy suddenly this forlorn looking empty saggy thing. It's not much better now, but at least I'm used to it.
I remember being scared to be alone with my son, because I didn't know what to do with him. As much as I wanted to see him and hold him and spend time with him, I was still grateful when the nurses would take him away because that meant that someone else was in charge - I couldn't do the wrong thing and mess it up. I don't know if that makes me a bad mom or a bad person. I do know that I already loved him with all my heart, if that helps.
Then, oh my god. Those frickin' maniacs at the hospital sent me home with this tiny newborn. What could they have been thinking? I didn't know anything about babies!!!! I was only four when my little brother was born, and we never lived around any cousins or anybody whose babies I could have held and gotten used to. I babysat a little in high school, but never babies. I'd never even seen a newborn up close until my son was born, and now they were sending me home with one?!?
On a side note, knowing that I didn't know much about babies, I took all of these classes at the hospital while I was pregnant to prepare. I'm sure that a few useful nuggets taught there in have made their way into my parenting (come to think of it, that's why my son sleeps on his back, in a crib with no blankets, bumpers, or toys, in a sleep sack) but to me, the defining moments of those classes is when we had to give a pretend bath to a rubber doll. I remember being relieved that they were teaching "bathing" because that's something that I was especially anxious about. Ha. Ha. Ha. What I didn't realize at the time was that there is a whole world of difference between pretending to bathe a rubber doll, and actually bathing a screaming newborn. I think they should have had us bathe cats instead. At least then we would have been prepared for the shrieking.
So they send me home with this infinitely fragile beautiful little creature with goreous long eyelashes and heart-wrenchingly scrawny limbs. Both DH and I were scared to death of him. We couldn't have been more afraid if they had sent us home with a rabid werewolf. BUT (and maybe this is the lesson that I learned) you get along. You learn how to do by doing.
I'm running out of time today, but I'll write more later to bring this thing up to date. Those first sleepless nights, our struggle to breastfeed, DH's depression, going back to work. Right now I just want to end by remembering the first time I tried to breast feed Tristan at home. We hadn't been home for very long, and Tristan started to fuss. In a panic, I checked his diaper, and with a sinking feeling realized that he was probably hungry. We hadn't exactly mastered breastfeeding in the hospital, despite seeing an LC (hurriedly) twice. I remember sitting down in the rocker in Tris's room, maybe for the first time since I put it together by myself at 8 months pregnant because I was sick of DH procrastinating. I remember the way Tristan threw himself into nursing for the first time since his birth, slinging one arm over his face as he got down to business. I remember thinking "Maybe we really can do this." I didn't know then that it would take ten weeks, two plugged ducts, a very patient LC, the la Leche League, 2 bottles of thrush medication, two crackled nipples, and all of the tylenol in the house, but I was right. We really did (and do) do this.