Divorce Chronicles :: Two Years Later

Dustin and I had an amazing time yesterday. We have been talking about going to Six Flags Magic Mountain for over a year now and finally made the trip. Splurged on Flash Passes for the first time ever and got to ride every coaster we wanted, most two or three times. There were a couple good coasters I have never had a chance to ride before, and it has been years, but Goliath, at night, was still my favorite. Nothing beats that first drop. Nothing beats the anticipation and thrill, the energy in the air, that deep breath and long scream, and those moments that steal your breath away. It was perfect. Exactly what I needed and more. 

And then this afternoon, during a quiet moment of the Hurricane’s nap, Facebook kindly reminded me that I have been divorced for exactly two years. So fitting, really, given the mild emotional breakdown I had in the car this morning on the way home… We are flying down the interstate and start talking about our wedding, just 40 days and 40 nights away. So soon, but so far away given that I feel like I have known this man forever – and often have to remind myself that we just truly met a year and a half ago. I commented honestly, that I am mostly pretty sure I am ready to get remarried when a wave of shame and anger and regret washed over me. Those deep in the pit of your stomach ugly, ugly feelings. And my concern for still being able to feel that way, even two years later caused me to burst into tears.

I am certain it is not that I am not ready to marry him. It’s the wasted time, years and years and almost a decade of wasted time, the cracks in my heart, the betrayal of trust that were all for nothing. Because besides the Hurricane, and being free and having a hell of a lot more confidence in who I am and why I’m here on this earth, no good comes from what I went through. But that’s everything at the same time, isn’t it?

It is everything. So I cried for my divorce and for me, and for the messy and beautiful family my son will have. For everything I never really wanted, wasn’t expecting, didn’t sign up for. Dustin reached over and grabbed my hand, calmly told me that it may never fully go away and that it’s okay if it never does and we sat in silence for a couple miles. He is my zen and I am so thankful. I still have a big heart, and it just so happens to be a big day in the short history of my divorced life. The highlight of which was picking up the Hurricane and him running at us yelling, “Mommy! Daddy!” before throwing himself into my arms. The gentle reminder that I am immeasurably blessed among this chaos.

Love and light,

Michelle

Attachment Parenting

The little has been asleep for about a half hour now. I can hear him dreaming in his pack ‘n play next to the bed. It has been a chaotic day. Nothing seemed to make him happy for very long. Every few minutes went like this… “Mom, I’m bored. Pick me up. Where’s the cat? Put me down. Feed me! Never mind, I’m full. Don’t ignore me! Find me a better toy.” >> Just guessing what he was thinking based on his actions. A bit of an exhausting day, to say the least.

And then I checked Facebook, as I’ve come accustomed to doing, while nursing him to sleep. My newsfeed was all cute baby pictures and random group posts until I stumbled across an article shared in my AP, attachment parenting, mom group. A former AP mom, not linked to our group, ranted about how that lifestyle ruined her life for almost a decade. She described how babywearing was literally throwing her back out, safe co-sleeping/co-rooming made it so she never slept or had time alone with her husband, and responding to her first child’s crying made it so that he never learned to self-soothe and refused to nap. The second half of the post detailed how crying it out, limited nursing and a more strict sleep schedule with their second child, worked like baby magic to create a much happier family unit. (I won’t link to the post because I would hate to have anyone scared away from the great intentions of this gentle parenting style due to the author’s bias.)

What annoyed me most about the author’s rant, was that she made it sound as if parenting was an all or nothing game. If I have learned anything in the past six months, it’s that parenting is not black or white. There are many, many parenting styles and techniques out there. Not everything that works for one baby or family will work for another. I will go as extreme as saying that not everything that works one day for us will work the next. She also completely missed the boat on what AP is all about.

Just thinking of the attachment parenting principles… The little was exclusively breastfed, up until this past week when he tried bananas for the first and second times. (Post on that soon!) Struggling with my supply, and not knowing the root cause, has given me an appreciation for why many moms resort to using formula. It is almost always a failure of the system, not of the individual. There are definitely moments when he cries and I don’t immediately tend to his needs; like when he’s strapped in his car seat and screaming his head off one red light from home. Or when his spirited nature (see first paragraph) is wearing on me. I didn’t “wear” Elliott until he was five or six weeks old. He felt so tiny and fragile before then, and the fear of accidentally suffocating him scared me. And then there are definitely days he wants nothing to do with a baby carrier, and that’s okay. I still consider us an AP family, because of the way in which we instinctively respond to his needs.

I guess all I’m meaning to say, is that this parenting style fits me. I’m not perfect at it, but parenting isn’t about perfection. It’s certainly not all black or white, and that’s coming from someone who admittedly struggles with seeing the world as such.

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Homecoming

Homecoming

 

He’s HOME!!!!

The bumble butt is sleeping in swing. The husband is sleeping in our bed, because his body is still trying to figure out where in the world he is now. I’ve got dinner ready to go, as soon as the former is fed and the latter wakes up.. One happy wife and mom, here. My whole, little family under one roof for the first time. Words can’t even begin to describe how that feels.

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8 Weeks Later

Tomorrow the little man will be eight weeks old. During tonight’s snuggle session I had a chance to look at the photos taken during his birth. I uploaded them when I got the disk from my doula, but I wasn’t ready to look at them before.. Something about that night was too raw to face any sooner than now; perhaps that my husband is missing from the pictures, or knowing I was far from my ideal weight at that time.

But it was more than that. I wasn’t ready to experience those moments from someone else’s eyes, for the fear that it wasn’t everything I remembered it to be. That somehow it had only been magical in my mind.

I held my breath, and I saw me becoming a mom. The concentration it took, the pain I can recall but can’t really remember. The ugly cry face I knew I was making but couldn’t stop…and then the look of pure love, staring down at this new and perfect, tiny human. I’m thankful those memories were captured for me.

And although I am far from having “baby fever” I can see why moms are willing to go through labor again and again. For those first moments when you are able to hold your whole world in your arms.
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One Month Old

ElliottOneMonth1Hey Baby Bee,

You are a whole month old today. We made it through our first night alone together, and I didn’t get a wink of sleep. Held your little hands during newborn screening tests, and felt you melt into my chest after they poked and prodded you. Was the moment I felt like your mom.

After we got home, we made it through the worst of your day/night confusion, which I still claim no one warned me about. So many sleepless nights (for me) when you were so new, and refused to be put down in your bassinet. Lots and lots of scrunchy, munchy newborn snuggles. When my chest was your only home; the only place you felt safe. It feels like just yesterday..

My birthday came and went in a sleep-deprived blur. Christmas too, except the vivid memory of you hating your Christmas outfit and screaming when I tried to take your picture under the lights of the tree. “Elliott’s tree,” as grandma called it when she showed you the lights.

Trips to the grocery store and other stores would be a whole lot easier if you didn’t hate your carseat so much, but I know it’s just because you want to be close. Which is why I bought a baby k’tan and moby wrap and ergo baby carrier. You are a babywearing fan, and it amuses me to see the funny looks I get while “wearing” you.. As if putting a carseat on top of a shopping cart makes more sense.

We slept right through the ball dropping on New Years, but I promise you got plenty of kisses to make up for that one. On your cheeks and forehead and tiny little nose.  I smiled at you when you woke up on the first day of a new year and told you that was the year you’ll get to meet your daddy.. And you let out your “crocodile” cry in response. (The one that means I don’t care what you’re doing, you have five seconds to pick me up before I start screaming.) That day will matter to you when it gets here, even if you’re still too young to understand now.

Baby bootcamp, as my momma friends call it, helped you learn to be okay in your bassinet and okay in your cosleeper… Not all the time, but enough for me to eat dinner or start some laundry. Tummy time is something you still aren’t sure of, but you’re pretty good at it, and rolled over from tummy to back at just three weeks old. Grandma says it won’t be long before you’re rolling front to back either. You went from absolutely hating bath time, to loving it. But you still hate getting nakie for diaper changes, that is for sure, and you protest by trying to pee on me every chance you get! I’m getting better at predicting that now, but that’s not to say I haven’t had to change my clothes a few times..

You really have changed so much in a month. Grew a few inches, put on a couple pounds. Your hair grew longer, eyelashes doubled in length, and your eyebrows finally started showing a little color. You sleep on your own sometimes swaddled in a blanket or your woombie, and you’re getting better at recognizing mine and grandma’s voices mid screaming fit. I’ve learned your hungry cry, just woke up alone cry, middle of your sleep cry, and carseat cry, which quicky escalates into what we call your velociraptor cry.. You have quite the set of lungs, something you have reminded me since the moment you were born.

You are so loved my little bumble butt. They always say, to the moon and back, but that isn’t far enough..

Love,

Mom

 

Arms Length

Something I dreamt last night made me realize that I’ve been keeping my family-in-law at arms length. It’s not a startling realization, but with their nephew/grandson due to arrive any day now, it’s worth taking note. I am a thinker, an over-analyzer and I know the reasons for the distance.

The first is that they never really liked me anyway. Sure, they said they would support “us” after our wedding, but that was only so that they wouldn’t totally lose their son/brother as he became my husband. I was smart enough to realize that, and it never bothered me when they asked to hear from him, about him, not from or about “us.”

Then there’s the secret(s) they’ve shared amongst themselves. Trying to conceive troubles and early pregnancy news and announcements we asked them to not share, with anyone. Which they took to mean to keep the news off Facebook, but discuss amongst themselves.

And then, the final blow (for me at least) was being told by my mother-in-law that if I didn’t tell my husband’s older siblings about the baby at barely 6 weeks along, that she was going to tell them that weekend. My husband was deployed, I had had bleeding scares.. we weren’t even sure the pregnancy was going to last. It was extremely rude of her, and after emailing my husband, I called his siblings and told them. They already knew.

So I keep them at arms length, but it’s not as if they try to be any closer to me, or the baby.

I was taught many important life lessons from a now, very-crazy grandmother of mine. One of the things that stands out to me the most, is to learn from the things that hurt me. When we got engaged, his family stole much of the joy we felt. At our wedding, they scowled 90% of the time; acted as if they were at a dreadfully boring church service, rather than the celebration that it was. I have pictures for proof, and I’ve shared those with them.

They can’t steal the joy of our first child. They never really wanted to share in his life so far anyway.

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Benadryl Fog

I’ve been in a benadryl fog the past week. My super strict midwife prefers that I take no meds ever, but in case of a cold, benadryl and tylenol are the only “okayed” medications. Tried and trusted to be safe, she says. Barely effective and sleep-inducing, I say. I’m resting up and trying my best to kick this cold’s butt, but as for now, it’s mostly kicking mine.

This month started off with a bang!! For my sister, at least. She accepted a proposal from her boyfriend of three-ish years on the first and was already overwhelmed by the sound of wedding bells on the second. (Congrats little sister!! If you ever ready my blog..) I sent her some of my favorite planning sites, and gave her all my luck. Was the most I had thought about wedding planning since I was planning my own. It was fun to think about her sending me pictures of wedding dresses she’s considering, like I had done not too long ago.

And then I caught this cold and it’s like my life stopped. It’s hard to function as a part of society when you feel like a nine month pregnant, zombie whale. I hate to say it, but I am so looking forward to getting my body back, in more ways than one. I glanced in the mirror the other day and couldn’t remember what it felt like to have a flatter stomach… not to mention having a face not made fat by all this baby weight. But baby weight is a topic I’m really not ready to discuss.

I’ve got four or so posts saved as drafts, so be on the look out for those. Would have published them as I’ve written them over the past week, but I’ve either fallen asleep while writing them, or can’t focus long enough to proof read them. I will be so happy to ditch the cold meds and feel like I can function again, let alone breathe. Until then..

30 Week Update!!

How far along? 30 Weeks! Definitely feeling the third trimester..
Total weight gain: 15ish.
Maternity clothes? Still loving the belly panels, although they seem to be “shrinking”
Stretch marks? Still no new ones, thankfully!!
Sleep: Getting enough but it still surprises me that I am waking up at 7am most mornings!!
Best moment this week: Coming up tomorrow at my 3D ultrasound!!
Miss Anything? My husband, unlimited amounts of caffeine, being able to walk more than half a mile a day..
Movement: He’s moving!! But overall he’s a very sleepy baby, definitely not as active as others have described their little ones to be.
Food cravings: Pizza!! This little dude loves it! It’s the one food that can usually get him wiggling around.
Anything making you queasy or sick: Nope!
Gender: The anatomy scan said “boy” and I am hoping to get a confirmation shot tomorrow at the ultrasound!
Labor Signs: Nope. Had a few BH contractions early last week but upped my water intake and they’ve mostly gone away.
Symptoms: Water retention (hello, fat face), boobs are more tender than usual (omg could they actually be growing!? lol) and out of breath due to baby smashing my lungs.
Belly Button in or out? Definitely in, but much more shallow than it ever has been!
Wedding rings on or off? Oh, these have been off since 20 weeks. Did not want to risk them being cut due to swelling.. I miss them! They’re so sparkly..
Happy or Moody most of the time: Happy, I would say.. but I’m definitely feeling the mood swings of the 1st trimester returning!
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To watch this week’s update video where I ramble about various other things go here. Hope your week has started off great and I’ll be on to update on our ultrasound soon!