Monday, December 31, 2012

Welcoming 2013

As I sit here on the final morning (or afternoon now) of what has been a very, very eventful year, with my morning coffee and sleepy-eyed Jax, it's hard to believe I wasn't doing just this same exact thing one year ago.

But that girl, her morning was nothing like mine is today. She crawled out of bed late afternoon, hungover and ready to cure it with something greasy and more rum and cokes. She slipped on a mini skirt, some gray tights, and a black top covered in gold sequins. She spent her night sampling Ryan's beers, and hauling a half gallon of cheap vodka around with some friends. She peed in a very dark room of a very sketchy, shabby, and decaying warehouse, into a bucket set underneath a chair with a hole cut through the seat while a band pounded away (illegally) down the hall. She fell and ripped her tights to pieces as the night came to a close, then spent some time hovering over the bathroom toilet at home before falling asleep. Happy new year!

That girl learned so much this past year. Though sometimes she misses those very classy and eventful nights of her past, she's learned way too much to settle for just those anymore.

That girl didn't know how it felt to stare down at an unexpectedly positive pregnancy test.

She didn't know what an abortion clinic looked like, nor how it felt to run out of one crying. Twice.

She didn't know how self-conciousness she'd feel standing in front of her college class in a baggy shirt, trying to hide what wasn't even a bump yet.

She didn't know she could cry so much on the half an hour drive to and from college every day for two months, while an unwanted baby grew inside of her.

But then, she did not know how amazing it was to feel her unborn baby move for the first time, or hear his heart beat.

She didn't know how cute baby clothes were.

She didn't know how cute a bowling ball size belly could look in a bikini.

She didn't know how it felt to have ultrasounds done every two weeks to check her baby for congestive heart failure.

She didn't know that ultrasounds could ever be anything short of magical.

She didn't know that a pregnancy could be anything less than perfect.

She didn't know what "poor biophysical profile" or "late decels" meant.

She didn't know how terrifying the words "emergency csection"could be, especially six weeks early.

She didn't know how empty she could feel just moments before meeting her baby.

She didn't know how important it was to hear that first cry.

She did not know how it felt to hold her baby for the first time, the baby she thought wasn't going to make it.

She didn't know what hypotonia, or almond shaped eyes, or a sandal gap meant.

She didn't know what a newborn with Down Syndrome looked like.

She did not know how it felt to grieve for the death of a child that was alive just across the hall.

She didn't know of the heartache and despair a simple diagnosis could bring.

She didn't know how a smile from a tiny, thriving, little baby boy that looked just like his daddy, could quickly turn that heart ache to guilt, and then to the deepest love.

She didn't know how to read a heart monitor, or watch oxygen saturation numbers like they'd suddenly disappear.

She didn't know what an ASD or VSD meant.

She didn't know how to put down a nasal-gastric tube in a three week old.

She didn't know what a normal platelet count was.

She didn't even know how to change a diaper, or give a sponge bath, or bottle feed. And she certainly didn't know how to be patient enough to wait three months to finally get her baby to nurse. She didn't know it would be so important to her.

She didn't know anything about milestones, therapies, ENT visits, echocardiograms, or fine and gross motor skills.

She didn't know how much she'd love getting her baby out of his bassinet in the middle of the night when he greets her with the biggest smile through all of his tears.

She didn't know how it would feel when strangers cooed over her baby, she didn't know it would make her anxious instead of proud.

She didn't know how it would feel to want to hide her innocent baby away from a world of skepticism and harsh realities.

She didn't know she'd ever want to punch a nurse for simply doing her job.

She didn't know she'd find a baby's cry so cute, or praise him for pooping.

She didn't know she could be so proud of stretch marks.

She didn't know that a night spent in with her son would trump any party she could ever attend.

Mostly, she didn't know she'd ever be a good mother, or even a mother at all.

As I wave goodbye to this year through a warm haze of close friends and good music and all of the love in the world, it's bitterweet. I'm sad to see such a great year of personal growth and love come to a close, yet excited to welcome another year of what will continue to be a learning experience. A new year of motherhood, poopy diapers, therapy sessions, milestones, doctor appointments, scary moments, tears, hugs, and the biggest baby smiles. And soon enough, baby laughs too (I've been waiting and tickling away)!

Cheers to the new year! May all of your 2013's be as fulfilling as mine is sure to be!

Sunday, December 30, 2012


Around 4am this morning, I was awoken by Jaxson dancing around in his bassinet, his legs steadily and consistently pounding against the mattress. He had just eaten at 3am, so I was sure he was only restless and let him wear himself back to sleep. Throughout the next two hours I would awake to him whining periodically, blatantly refusing sleep, as was his new habit.

Now normally, I would scoop him up and rock him to sleep, but because I'm starting back to school in another week, I didn't want to make middle of the night rockings a habit, so I let him be.

But by 6am he was way past whining, so assuming he was hungry (which is odd, because he's been sleeping through nights) I wrapped him up and headed for the kitchen, sure this would be like any other morning: Jaxson eats, then stays awake and wants to play well before the sun has risen. A habit I've been trying to break

Yet, before I could groggily stumble the few steps to our chair to nurse him, he was sleeping soundly in my arms. He had wanted nothing more than his momma. Not food, or toys; just my arms wrapped around him. My heart exploded with emotions I cannot even fully comprehend nor explain. Gratitude? Love? Contentment? Thankfulness? I don't know. Something along the lines of the deepest passion I have ever felt. A warm and deep and burning admiration.

A week prior to this, Jaxson had spent the night with his grandmother. When I arrived to pick him up, she handed me him mid-feed to finish up while she packed his things up.

And I'll be damned, once he noticed it was me feeding him, he looked up at me with those big almond eyes and shot me the biggest smile, nipple in mouth as milk dribbled down his chin. He held it for a few seconds as it reached up into his eyes, then resumed eating, as if nothing had interrupted him in the first place. Maybe I'm just getting used to this whole responsive smiling thing, but I tell ya, this felt like something special. There's just something about that recognition... that moment when you realize you're a mommy and your baby knows it too.

It all makes me think back to that girl almost a year ago, sitting in a bathroom staring hopelessly and painfully at a positive pregnancy test. The same girl that cried and cried over becoming a mother, was sure her life was over, her dreams and ambitions out the window. She would never study abroad, or backpack through europe; she would never move out of that dreadful city or land her dream job. She would never be anything or anyone, just an empty shell lined with ghosts of "would have beens."

That girl knew so little of happiness.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

To Say, or Not to Say

(I'm truly awful at titling posts, my apologies to all those pained as much by them as I am. This piece is actually title-less)
Countless times I have found myself faced with an inner battle: do I mention it, or let them wonder? Maybe they don’t notice it anyway, or maybe they do and wonder how I could be so happy. Or maybe it doesn’t matter to them, why would it? Maybe they’ll take back their compliments.
Saying it is hard though. It’s a fragile topic, teetering over the edge of an emotional waterfall. What if I say it, verbalize the secret and make it real… and suddenly, the compliments disappear. What if he’s ridiculed. Or looked down upon. Or insulted even.
It’s like presenting a painting, or another piece of art that you’ve worked so hard on. You’ve poured your blood, sweat and tears into that tiny acrylic masterpiece, and to you, it’s absolutely perfect. You could never have done any better. You gaze at it in wonder, wake up throughout the night to make sure it’s still as beautiful as you left it, trace the lines you painted again and again and wonder how you ever managed to make something so breathtaking.
But your painting is fragile. It’s new and fresh and innocent, a product of you. And deep down, you can’t shake the feeling of vulnerability.
You’re afraid. You’re afraid to show it to anyone else. What if they don’t like it? What if they can’t see its beauty? You worked so hard, you’re head over heels in love with it, but what if they turn their noses up, say you could have done better. What if they want nothing to do with it? Or pretend to like it all the while feeling sorry for you and you’re “sub-par” painting. What if they say they could do better? That you failed? That your painting is ugly, abnormal, and defective? You wonder if maybe you’re not ready to show it off. Maybe you should cover it up and keep it from everyone else who may not appreciate it. Who may tarnish it with criticism.
You just want to protect your painting’s innocence.
But maybe you’re the fragile one. How will you defend your painting? What will you say to prove the beauty that it captures? Will you even have to; maybe everyone else will see it? But what if they don’t? How do you tell them that your life would be meaningless without this painting, that this tiny little picture on a canvas has breathed a new life into you? Changed you? You know you could never make anyone feel what you feel.
Sometimes, when my painting and I are approached by a stranger, I wonder if I should justify it. If I should explain it so that it is better understood and appreciated. Maybe it makes a difference if I give a certain detail, maybe it will change an opinion.
But what does it matter? It’s my painting. It will always be my painting. It may not be a painting that others enjoy or wish to buy, but it is mine forever. And I would not change it.
So maybe it’s best to make them wonder. Why did you paint it the way you did, why do you love it so much, how did you feel the first time you looked at your finished painting, what will you do with it now? Do they notice your paintings almond shaped eyes? Do they notice anything at all? It doesn’t matter.
This painting was not meant for just anyone.

One Last Thing:

Jaxson smiles now!

Okay, I'll cool it now. And I'll add a detailed post later, which will contain a lot less pictures and a lot more words.

A Few Gems to Brighten Your Day

Some of my favorites of Jax from the past two months of blog neglect:

In My Absence!

Unfortunantly I have been quite neglectful these past two months, but in order to catch up I'll give a quick recap of the holidays!

and I promise, promise, PROMISE to keep updated from here on out.

So enjoy!
First Halloween:
We discovered that Jaxson isn't much of a fan of Halloween. Or pumpkins. But I couldn't resist at least attempting to get a decent picture of this for the baby book. Alas, the closest I came was this:

At least he wasn't screaming.

First Thanksgiving:

I only add this picture because 1) I, for whatever reason, failed to take any others throughout the day, and 2) his adorable jean jacket/ flannel shirt combo. Irresistible.

First Christmas:
He was part of a photo shoot for a calendar through a breast feeding class we attend, but as you can see, he wasn't really into the idea. The month of December 2013 will feature a bunch of happy babies.. and a screaming Jax. So it begins!

He had no interest whatsoever in Santa. I cannot wait to compare this photo with the gem I'm sure we'll have next year.

Though we had to pay the ER a visit at 5am on Christmas eve morning, (due to suspected RSV but luckily it turned out to be just a cold) he was as happy as could be about opening presents!

And he loved the wrapping paper on Christmas morning more than he did his presents. Which is fine, since he received an overwhelming amount of clothes from a mother who is convinced he must be dressed at his best ever day.... no comment here.

All in all, these first few holidays of his were wonderful! He met so much of his family and was cuddled, swooned over, and stolen from my arms more times than I could keep track of!