Tag Archive | newborn

Three Weeks, Revisited

** You can read my first ever blog post, the sad version of this one, the one that inspired this post’s title, here. And please be warned…today’s post will be full of baby photos.**

Do you know what can happen in the span of three weeks? Let me tell you…

In three weeks’ time, you can wrap up all the baby preparations that you have spent nearly nine months toiling away at. Review the maternity photos you had taken and marvel at how beautiful they are. Watch the rise and fall of your blood pressure as though it is an Olympic sport that you have bet your life savings upon.  You can endure non-stress tests and blood tests and ultrasounds. You can worry about hypertension and preeclampsia and big babies and breech babies. You can relax during a prenatal massage and stock  your freezer with waffles and casseroles and homemade bread that one day you will hopefully enjoy while holding your newborn in your arms. You can celebrate making it to full term and yet know that even that milestone is no guarantee. Your baby could still leave at any time, with no warning. It only takes a second for a dream to end. You learned that a long time ago, but this time, in this three weeks, you have reason to hope for a different ending.

"For this child I prayed; and the Lord hath given me my petition which I asked of Him." -- 1 Samuel 1:27

“For this child I prayed; and the Lord hath given me my petition which I asked of Him.” — 1 Samuel 1:27

My girls

My two beautiful girls, each a miracle in their own right

Or…

In the span of three weeks, you can hope that any day now will be The Day. The day your water breaks. The day labor starts. The day your baby comes. You can start doing nipple massage and acupressure and drinking red raspberry leaf tea three times each day to get things going. You can hope each Braxton Hicks is the start of the real thing. You can see your doctor twice a week and suffer through more non-stress tests and feel the sting of disappointment each time you are told your cervix is not making much progress. You can worry your baby is not moving enough and have a panic attack one morning when she doesn’t move at all. You can see your baby on ultrasound multiple times and be told she is getting very big and that she’s head-down each time…until one time, four days after your due date, she is not. She is breech. And you can panic and you can cry and then you prepare for a c-section. And four hours before they cut you open, you can discover your baby has flipped once again and prepare for an induction instead. And then, finally, after hours of intense labor, after a call for an epidural that comes too late, you can push your baby into this world, hear her first cry, and hold her against you. You can feel her flesh and warmth, know she is finally real, and say these words over and over: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you, God. Thank you. It is the only prayer you can — or will — say for days and days. And you can weep just at the sight of your baby, so thankful are you for her existence and her health and her perfection.

Daddy's little girl

one of Daddy’s little girls

I had lots of fun playing with my fancy camera for these shots!

I had lots of fun playing with my fancy camera for these shots!

Or…

In just three short weeks, your child can be born in the middle of the night before the doctor arrives and into the hands of your nurses and you can once again be reminded that there is such a thing as love at first sight. Your husband can cry on your shoulder and you can sob in relief and gratitude. You can introduce your baby to her big sister who keeps saying, “Baby come out of mommy’s tummy!” and then introduce her to friends, her grandparents, your sister, and the world. You can leave the hospital in your new minivan and sit in the backseat so you can watch your baby breathing. You can spend the first two nights at home holding your child because she won’t sleep in the bassinet. You can watch your older daughter blossom as a big sister, exhibiting gentleness, understanding, and tenderness that you never knew she had. You can have your newborn baptized and take her to the park and the mall and Halloween celebrations and out to eat just so everyone can see how beautiful she is. You can get weepy at the thought of SIDS and still be so thankful for all the time she spends sleeping. You can take over a thousand photos in those three little weeks and, every day, you can just feel the total power and weight of your blessing. And you can promise her, over and over, that you will love her and protect her forevermore.

Dressed for her baptism on 10/20/13.

Dressed for her baptism on 10/20/13.

Call me creepy...but I love to watch her sleep. :)

Call me creepy…but I love to watch her sleep. 🙂

It was on this day, three weeks ago, that one of the most precious gifts I’ve ever received was placed into my arms. Even though my husband’s new job is turning out not to be all that we hoped for, it’s possible that these have still been the best three weeks of my life. In some ways, it is hard to fathom that it’s only been three measly weeks because it feels as if Skittle has been making her way to us for much longer. That she has been a part of this family, a part of my life, since the beginning of time. And in other ways…it still feels unreal. It is so hard to believe when I wake up in the middle of the night that I need not pause to wait for a kick within my womb. That I only must roll over and reach into the bassinet to know my baby is breathing, that she is alive and well.

Every day, even on the ones when I am so sleep deprived that I can’t form a coherent sentence and I call my baby by the wrong name, I am just so thankful for what I have. Two daughters. I am humbled by it. I don’t know why I get to have them and so many other deserving women don’t. I think of you who are in the trenches every day. And I will never take for granted the miracles that my babies truly are.

And one last photo, just because today is Halloween…

Wishing you all a safe and sweet Halloween!

Wishing you all a safe and sweet Halloween!

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The Fear: It Continues

I am not surprised by this. That is, by the fear. By its failure to cease.

I have been here before, after all. I have prayed in desperation for a child, I have believed that child may never come to be, I have worried through nine months of pregnancy when she did finally come into being, and I have fretted over her health and safety in the early months of her life. So I am not surprised that I am here again, afraid that Skittle may be gone at any moment, but it still leaves me exhausted, wishing I had a different way of handling things.

The fears now are different, of course. I don’t have to count fetal kicks every hour. I don’t worry about cord accidents and placental abruptions. I don’t envision every way the delivery of a baby can go wrong. Instead, I mostly obsess over SIDS — the silent, unpredictable killer of healthy babies. I worry that Skittle will stop breathing while she’s sleeping and so am I. Or that I’ll turn my back and won’t notice that her chest has stopped moving. I worry that I’ll always be too late in coming to her rescue.

To combat my fears, I have done my research. Of course, Skittle sleeps on her back. In a bassinet next to our bed. With a fan blowing, no matter how cold it is outside. We don’t overheat the bedroom and, as soon as breastfeeding is well-established, we will offer a pacifier. I know that I am doing all I can to avoid SIDS, making use of every tool that even has the slightest link to SIDS prevention. But it’s still not enough to keep the anxiety at bay. I still worry.

And sometimes, I still panic too. Like when Skittle was asleep in the bassinet the other night while I was getting ready for bed and pumping my milk and suddenly I was overwhelmed with a fear that she had stopped breathing while in the bedroom alone. I had to stop mid-pump to go check on her. And a week ago, she she seemed to be gasping for breath in her sleep just for a few quick seconds and, once I knew she was okay, I couldn’t quit crying because I realized how vulnerable she still is. And just last night, I had to shake her awake because I couldn’t feel her breathing through her swaddle.

Most of the time I’m okay, but sometimes it can get very, very bad.

And this is just the beginning. I know from my obsessive research that the greatest risk of SIDS is between 2-4 months and so I know with certainty that my fear and anxiety will peak at that time. After six months, the risk becomes negligible and so will become my level of worry. That’s the good news…there is an end to this daily rise and fall of fear. As a mother, I will always worry about my children, but once Skittle reaches the age of six months, I need not be constantly afraid that she might die at any given moment.

The other good news: I don’t have to wonder every second of every day. There’s no hoping that and worrying whether Skittle is okay. All I have to do is look at her, touch her, hear her rhythmic breathing to know she is. That makes this kind of fear a bit less painful.

And I know these days will pass fast, and I don’t want to wish them away because Skittle will never be this small again. I love and cherish her tinyness, her curled newborn body, the simplicity of her needs…but I do look forward to that day, down the road, when I can breath a little easier again and won’t be consumed by this fear every damn day.

Ahhhh, can you even imagine that a day such as that can exist?