Tag Archives: c-section

No Formal Training: Learning to Be a Mommy

3 May

I was never a baby person. In fact, the first baby I remember interacting with was my brother … and that started out pretty rocky. My first memory with him consisted of me dancing around the living room in my fancy new plastic headbands and then biting him when no one was paying attention. I’m not proud of it, but the good news is that we’ve come to love each other as grown adults.

Me and My Brother

Me and My Brother

 

Flash forward to high school, when everyone babysat for extra cash. A woman in my neighborhood asked me to babysit her three young children, and I jumped at the chance. How hard could that be, I thought. Four hours later, covered in macaroni and cheese and watching “Dumbo” for the third time after a “falling down the stairs” incident, I literally met that momma at her front door with her destroyed children and vowed to never babysit again.

When I was in my twenties, my sister and her family came to visit, renting a beautiful condo on the beach. She asked if I’d mind watching her youngest son while she took her other older children to an amusement park for the day. Condo on the beach? Yes, please! So, that morning, I said goodbye to my sister, changed into my swimsuit and headed to the pool with JR in tow. Well, I had no idea that babies don’t really lay out and lounge by the pool, so our stay lasted a whole 10 minutes at most. But when I lugged JR and all our beach gear back upstairs, I realized we were locked out. So, there I was in my bikini with no shoes and a baby on my hip crossing the ever-busy, tourist-lined Gulf Boulevard to get an extra key from the rental office. Beyond embarrassing and one of my biggest redneck moments!

Since that last incident, I hadn’t spent more than maybe two hours alone with a child, and then we got pregnant. Luckily, PoppaNut has far more experience, but that “plus sign” meant it was time to learn a thing or two myself. So, I poured over baby books, mommy blogs and family testimonials. I Googled everything I could and spent hours watching YouTube videos like “How to Wash a Baby,” “How to Feed a Baby” and “How to Swaddle a Baby.” Yes, I literally YouTubed this stuff, and it was actually pretty helpful.

Then, I signed us up for the baby class, “Childbirth Preparedness.” I came with a notebook, pens and my academic ethics. I was going to sit at the front of the classroom and learn EVERYTHING I could because knowledge is power. And PoppaNut was a great sport about it — he participated in the question/answer session and even walked around the room with me while I stomped and squatted (techniques I was told help the baby drop). I learned about the birthing ball (yoga ball you can use during labor), signs of labor and a whole host of other things. But when it got to the C-section portion of the class, we scooted out. We aren’t going to need that anyway, I thought.

Boy, were we wrong! After being induced and spending 12 hours in labor, I had a C-section. I didn’t get to use the birthing ball and I didn’t need to know the signs of labor. I completely forgot most of the things I read in the baby books and blogs. And from then on, I just did what I thought was right. I still make jokes about how I’m completely not qualified to have a baby, and it’s still quite unbelievable that I’m somebody’s mommy. And suddenly, that same girl who never was a baby person now can’t imagine her life without this amazing baby in it. Amazing how becoming a mommy can change you. But I guess what I learned is love is the magical ingredient. With love leading you, you find your way. And that’s life in a nutshell.

MommaNut

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And Baby Makes Three: Welcoming Our Son

10 Apr

Since my last post, we’ve welcomed a beautiful son into our crazy nuthouse, making it all the more crazier each day but filled with more love than I ever thought possible.

Our Little One at 3 Weeks

Our Little One at 3 Weeks

Our knucklehead is five months old now, learning to roll and belly-giggling at nearly everything around … including Peanut and Cashew. And now that PoppaNut and I have found a good routine in parenthood, I’ve had some time to reflect on all of it. What would I tell my pregnant, swollen-feet wobbly self about what I’ve learned so far?

1. You might be scared of needles but you’ll love how you feel after the epidural, even after they hit a nerve in the process. You’ll play Words with Friends, sing to “Drop It Like It’s Hot” and even take a nap while you wait for your labor to progress.

2. You’ll be sad when you don’t get that “beautiful made-for-Facebook” photo of you, your hubby and your new son following an unexpected C-section. Have a good cry and move on. You’ll experience more love in those four hospital walls than you ever thought possible and that’s what matters. The photo your old high school friends see online doesn’t.

Mommy and Reece's First Photo

Mommy and Reece’s First Photo

3. Stop reading every baby book. It’s okay to not know what you’re doing. When your son is five months, you still won’t have a clue but you’ll be okay with it. You learn as you go. Instead of keeping your nose in a book, look up and live your life. Stare at his eyelashes and feel his breath on your chest. These are the moments you’ll miss later. Read when he sleeps.

4. Accept help. You are gonna need it. Don’t be too proud to say, “Can you come over and just hold my baby for a moment so I can shower?” My best friend Ashley gave me some great advice just days before Reece arrived: “When someone asks, just say yes. If they want to drop off food, just say yes. When they want to do your laundry, just say yes.” And so, you need to learn to say “yes” to help, followed by a huge “THANK YOU!”

5. Remember that your family started out as a twosome. You and PoppaNut are a team in all this, and remember to be a wife and not just Reece’s mother. You two have to master the craziness together! And you’ll be closer for it. And when he starts “Boys Breakfast” on Saturday mornings, which allows you to sleep in and have “alone” time, be sure to thank him. Not all husbands are as thoughtful!

Daddy and Reece, Snuggled Together at the Hospital

Daddy and Reece, Snuggled Together at the Hospital

6. You’ll have issues with your new body. You’ll want to have your old body back with those small little feet and skinny waistline. You’ll want to get in your old clothes as soon as you get home from the hospital, but they won’t fit. You’ll want to be scar-free, but you need to learn to wear that C-section scar with pride … along with the extra pounds for a little longer. Your body went through a lot and you have a beautiful son as proof. The weight will come off eventually, but give yourself time. Be understanding and compassionate with yourself.

7. When that sweet little boy goes to the dark side at three weeks old, crying for six hour stretches at a time and you can’t figure out why, know that you will get through it. You’ll want to rip your hair out, you’ll be beyond frustrated, you’ll give your baby to your hubby so you can go cry in the bathroom for five minutes, and you’ll wonder what you and PoppaNut were ever thinking when you decided to have a baby. This is NORMAL! And with the right formula and medicine, you’ll get Reece’s acid reflux and milk-protein intolerance under control. You will have a happy, healthy baby in the end!

You Will Look Back and Laugh at This

You Will Look Back and Laugh at This

8. You’ll worry a lot in the beginning if you are going to be a good mother. You’ve never been the type of woman who was dying to have a baby, so you wonder how you’ll do. But, Ms. Professional, you’ll actually love your title as “mother” most. You’ll love the way he wraps his small hand around your finger when you feed him a bottle, you’ll cherish the way he smiles when he sees you across the room, you’ll run to his room to get him his “lambie” when he starts to cry, and you’ll cherish saying prayers together each night. And when you see your husband hold your son, your heart will break with overwhelming love. So, stop worrying. You’ll get the hang of it.

9. You’ll forget a lot. No one told you how hard those first few months would be … or maybe you didn’t listen. The first month, you’ll say “how could anyone ever have another baby?? This is ridiculous!!” But your memory will start to fade, and you’ll start boxing up those cute newborn outfits and you’ll realize the time as already flown by. The hours of endless crying have stopped and your home will be blissfully wonderful with your new addition.

Our Happy Baby

Our Happy Baby

10. You’re joining a club! You won’t think of it that way at first, but once you start needing help with recommendations or tips, you’ll find a whole community of mothers out there ready to give your advice. Find those people who you can be completely honest with and confide in them. Accept the advice that makes sense to you and pass on those tidbits that don’t work for your family. You’ll know what right for you three. You’ll feel judged at times, but you’ll learn to brush it off. You’ll also learn that your “say it like it is” mentality spills over to motherhood … and you’ll speak your mind whether people like it or not. And you’ve decided that an admirable quality!

And that’s life in a nutshell … motherhood isn’t exactly as I expected … it’s better!

MommaNut

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