Friday, June 18, 2010

Sometimes Life Is Not Fair

I am having a hard couple of days. Yesterday I found out that my friend's sister is going through almost the same thing I went through with our first pregnancy. Our first baby. To make a long story short, they got an incompatible with life diagnosis at 18 weeks. She had a D&E.

This girl is someone I have known since high school, but not someone I would call a good friend. We were, however, kindred spirits in recent years. She had a really hard time getting pregnant. A really, really hard time. Much harder than me. So even though we were not close, we understood a part of each other's lives in a way that even my closest friends could not. And I am just so sad for her. Because I know how she feels. And I know what's in store for her. And it fucking sucks. I wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy. And she has tried SO hard to get pregnant. And it FINALLY worked. And she made it safely out of the first trimester. And then this happens. Its just not fair. And it fucking sucks.

As soon as I found out, a lot of the feelings came flooding back. I've been crying and tearing up for two days. Pictures from three years ago come into my head and then I picture this girl going through it now and it makes me so sad. Pictures like sitting on the couch not knowing what to do. Just having no idea what to do now. Or laying in bed, trying to sleep and then the tears come again and they turn into uncontrollable sobs and you just cry and cry and cry into your husband's chest. Or thinking to yourself - is this real? Is this really happening? No, this cannot be happening. I remember these things and then I imagine that 15 miles from here, someone I know is feeling that pain and confusion and heart break and my heart aches for her.

While I was on the phone with my friend as he was telling me about his sister, Finn stopped playing and just looked at me. He does that a lot. He likes to listen to people talking. But he was looking at me so intently, with a serious expression on his face, like was really listening and understanding. And I looked at him as I was hearing this horrible news and remembering my own loss and I thought - thank you, thank you, thank you. Thank you for this beautiful baby who brought me out of the darkness and helped to heal my heart. And then he smiled a big smile at me. When I got off the phone, I picked him and hugged him very tightly. Which he does not always like, especially when he's playing. But this time, he let me.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

The Dark Times

I just read a post from a new mom who is beyond tired, breastfeeding nonstop which makes for extra sore nipples, and dealing with a baby that seems to be getting increasingly fussy and hard to put to sleep. Sounds VERY familiar to me. That's where I was a few short months ago. Brings me right back. I could have written that exact post when my son was three weeks old.

Two things struck me as I read her post. Number one, I am SO thankful that we are out of the "dark times." My brutally honest friend coined this phrase after she had her daughter. She is the friend who will always tell you like it is. And boy she held nothing back about motherhood. She talked about pooping during pushing, how bad it hurt to poop the first time after giving birth, how coo-coo crazy she felt from sleep-deprivation, how once she let her baby just scream in her crib for an hour when she couldn't take it anymore, how she had to take a vicodin and drink a half a bottle of wine before she and her husband had their first post-baby sex....all those beautiful stories that back then made me think to myself "I am NOT ready to be a mom." I think it helped prepare me for the dark times. I mean, no one can REALLY be ready for the dark times. Even though someone may have told you all about it you don't really understand how dark it is until you are experiencing it yourself. But I'm glad she told me so I had SOME idea of the suckiness I was in for.

The other thing that struck me as I read this blogger's post was, how come we don't hear more about the "dark times?" Why aren't we more prepared for them? Shouldn't we be more honest with each other? Shouldn't we let people know how hard it is? Are we afraid of sounding ungrateful? Whiny? Wimpy? Like we don't know what we're doing?

The first few months of motherhood were wonderful and amazing and BLAH BLAH BLAH. Of COURSE its wonderful to have a new baby and of COURSE I felt incredibly grateful after all the shit we went through to get here. I would look at my teeny tiny and baby and just smile and feel the deepest sense of happiness I have ever felt. He would yawn in a cute way and I would cry. I took 250 pictures of him a day because he was so friggin cute and I wanted to remember him that small forever. I feel a love for my son that I have never known. Not even close. I love, love, LOVE being a mom. And all the wonderfulness makes the suckiness worth it in the end.

But, let's be honest. There are things about the first few months that fucking SUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK. That are unbelievably hard. I now believe that sleep-deprivation is torture. Being that tired is awful. I did not sleep for longer than 3 hours for 3 months. And getting 3 hours was a damn treat. Usually it was in 2 hour increments. I still rarely get more than 3 hours in a row. And breastfeeding does NOT just come naturally to everyone. My nipples hurt so bad I would cry out in pain or quietly cry during an entire feeding so I didn't scare the baby. My nipples didn't stop hurting for over two months. They STILL hurt sometimes. And the crying. Oh sweet Lord, the crying. The crying that is so loud and so shrill and right in your ear and never seems to end? The crying that makes you think to yourself for a second- seriously, I wanted a baby? Or maybe you can't even think because you are in a catatonic state so that you can survive the endless crying. Or maybe the baby is actually asleep but you still hear the crying ringing in your ears? And the not knowing what you're doing. Wondering if your milk supply is good enough. Wondering if the baby is crying because something serious is wrong with him. Wondering why their poop is that color. Wondering if they are still breathing. The endless wondering and not really knowing and googling....

I suppose there are people who find breastfeeding relatively easy, who have babies who "sleep through the night" at 6 weeks, who get back to having sex and it feels GREAT, who take showers and put on makeup every day....I kind of hate those people. But I think that in reality most people go through the "dark times." And I think its okay to talk about them. We SHOULD talk about them. To be honest about how hard it is. Not because complaining is a wonderful thing, but because when things are that sucky and hard you have to be able to talk about to to get through it. Its nice to feel like you are not alone, you are not a moron, you are not crazy and your baby is not some devil-incarnate but actually quite normal.