12 months ago…

It was Friday night, like a normal day after work. After my last day of work, actually, because I had my scheduled C-section for Monday at noon. I had the whole weekend planned. We were going to go to the fire station to make sure the car seat was put on properly, I was going to bake a few loaves of banana bread to have them once we were back from the hospital, I was going to wax my legs and do my hair to be in order for the big day and knowing that I wasn’t going to feel like doing my hair for a few days after the surgery.

We were in bed and at about 1am something woke me up. A pain. Mmh. This is new, I thought. Too bad I have no idea how false contractions feel, because these might be those. I read that false contractions would subdue if I changed position, so I moved around a bit, as much as that big belly allowed me to. Nothing. Still, I didn’t want to freak out and wake Dad for no reason. So I waited. In pain. For a couple of hours, silently hoping Dad would hear my muffled whines. At around 4am, I thought they were becoming stronger, and I decided they must be contractions… the real ones! Funny, but in that moment I just thought if I would have enough time and strength to wash my air before going to the hospital LOL! I downloaded an app to track contractions and they were about a minute long and 6 minutes apart. Whaaaat!! I got up and went looking for my notes from the meeting about delivery and stuff. I remember them saying 511 (5 minutes intervals, 1 minute long for at least 1 hour) for people to remember when it was necessary to go to the hospital. Oh shhhiiiiiiit I was in!!! So I finally woke Dad and told him I thought I was in labor. He didn’t know if we needed to go or not, so finally I told him we should go. I managed to shower, between contractions, but I couldn’t do my hair. Oh well. Dad showered too. I finished packing, and off we went. It was pretty funny in the car, trying to realise what was happening. I was talking and every few minutes I had to stop for the pain, and then the pain was gone completely and I could keep talking like nothing happened. We got there and they put me in a wheelchair waiting while the lady at the desk was also timing my contractions. A little part of me was still thinking “Probably they’ll tell me these are just false contractions and to go home.. “. Exactly what I wanted to avoid. But they didn’t. They admitted me and told me “You are going to have a baby!”. When we got to the room I told them that I has a scheduled C-section on Monday with Doctor Slaton and Rombro and I wanted to know which doctor was on call. I knew all of the doctors from the Omega group because they warned us that in emergency situation you might not get your own doctor but whoever was on call, so I met them all. Of all, one one I really didn’t like. And guess who was on call that day!! When the nurse told me, I turned around and told her “Are you kidding me?!???” and honestly I was ready to go. They exchange glances and said there was nothing they could do. So that’s how it began. I was about to cry.

They visited me and made an ultrasound to make sure you were still breech. They told me I was already 5cm! Dad was awesome. I think when the doctor arrived he went to talk to him to try and see if he could get at least one of my doctors as the assistant. We got lucky because my doctor was exactly who was going to be there! At least a familiar face! they got both me and dad ready, and that’s when I took the first picture. We thought about surprising our families but decided to let them know where we were, since it was going to be a surgery, after all.

IMG_3311They brought me in to do the spinal, and I was really good. It wasn’t easy to stay still with contractions getting stronger. They put me on the table and tied my arms and got ready, and they were about to start hen finally dad could come in and sit by my head. It was the weirdest feeling, I could feel everything but no pain. Weird. Dad caressed my hair the whole time. It didn’t feel like very long at all. At a certain point they told me they were going to pull you out and I asked Dad to take a video, and he did and a second later you were there, screaming full strength and so red!!! I can’t describe what I was feeling. Incredulous is the best word. I couldn’t believe what had happened and that you were ours. That you’d been in me for 39 weeks. They cleaned you up quickly, and Dad went with them while they were weighing you and checking you out. 7lb 14oz. I could’t see anything but we’ve got pictures of that so somebody must have taken them. And after what felt like forever, they brought you to me. They placed you right by my face and you were crying but stopped after a few seconds. I kept talking to you and I still remember how surprised I was by how soft your face was. It was better then silk, better than velvet, something I would never get tired of caressing.

IMG_3369I remember hearing a nurse saying she didn’t want to take him away. But they did, because they needed to stitch me up. I asked them to wait for me to give you a bath. After a loooong time finally they brought me to our room, and there you were, with Dad. He was… I think I’ve never felt so close to him before. It was like I knew that he could understand how I was feeling, because he was feeling the same. He kept smiling and looking at me with tears in his eyes. It was the strongest feeling for both of us, I think. And I was so happy that it felt so special despite of having a C-section, that I really didn’t want (you wouldn’t believe the things I’ve tried to make you turn. From chiropractor adjustments up in Lake Worth 3 times a week, from doing handstands in our neighbour’s pool, from weird position on the couch head down and on my elbow, from walking and stretching and whatever else I could find. And at the end, I was happy and wouldn’t change anything in that day. Even if we could have slept better or longer, and even if we had some little troubles afterwards (the day after we went home I had to go back for kidney stones but they thought it might be preeclampsia so it was not good).

Anyway, tomorrow we’ll have a small party. I baked you a cake. Strawberry and lemon, because that’s what you like lately. We’ll have balloons and sing happy birthday and I’ll wonder if you even know what the heck is going on. And meanwhile I’ll think about what was going on 12 months ago… And I think I’ll be doing that for the rest of my life, every jane 25th, at 9.27am…

Love you to the moon and back. You are so much better than in even my most beautiful dreams!

Mom

4 teeth and a mohawk.

Dear Tristan,

this post is long due (like so many others). I needed to write over a month ago, which was a hard time for me and I needed to vent out. Now, a month later, I can barely remember what I was so upset about :). Since you were born, things happen and change too fast, it’s tough to catch up!

But I do remember… Just, now it doesn’t seem like the end of the world like it felt before. So basically, right after my last post, we went to the pediatrician for your 9 months’ checkup and we found out you had a nasty ear infection. Your first, and nobody noticed because you were sleeping enough and were quite happy. Doctor gave us antibiotic but on the 4th day you developed a fever which wouldn’t go down and you were in pain. No more sleeping, no more eating, and not breastfeeding. The doctor changed antibiotic and that day you finally slept a couple of hours. I stayed home with you and when you woke up you wanted to breastfeed (after days of rejection). Finally!! I couldn’t believe it but I missed those moments with you. But that was the last time we had them. We still don’t know why, but since then you never wanted to breastfeed again. Even after you recovered, and your ears were fine, you just wouldn’t. I felt rejected, and that was really hard to accept for me. After all the fights and the pain and the time it took for me to be able to do it, we finally got on track and was working great, and you just decided to stop?!?? What, you felt too grown up already?!?? I was miserable for days, trying again and again and always being rejected. But still, you wanted to stay with me, you just didn’t want me to be your milk machine anymore. First I read that what some mothers see as self-weaning what is just a temporary strike and babies end up stopping breastfeeding because the moms feel rejected and stop trying. So I kept offering every day but there was nothing to do, you just wouldn’t go for it. The I read that self weaning between 9 and 12 months is normal, especially when accompanied by a change -like starting daycare- that make you more independent. Oh well, I guessed that was it. So after a while I just gave up. We were planning a long trip and I figured I would have wanted to stop pumping before going anyway, so it actually worked out good. Not perfect, but good. After all, so far you’ve been such an easy baby, I can’t be so surprised that you would be weaned so easily. And I remember seeing some grown up babies still trying to breastfeed when the moms don’t have any milk left and I realised I was actually really lucky.

After you recovered, and started to eat more again, it only took a few days to go back to our good eater! You put on weight, you smiled and laughed a lot, and you started to learn something every single day! You were clapping your hands at “Bravo!”, you were blabbering a lot, then you started the military crawl. What made it special, was that you looked like a wounded soldier because you only used one side of your body, dragging the other. Then you started to crawl for real… then you started to pull yourself up. This all happened in the last few weeks!! Now we can’t leave you alone even if we did baby proof because you move so fast! Last week you learned how to sign for ‘latte’ (milk). You are so cute when you do it. And, hear hear! You finally seem to like the formula!! Yay! It took a while (and a lot of disgusting pooping), but you have been taking it ok the last few days. And… you’re putting 2 big top teeth! I can’t believe you are changing so quickly.

One week you repeat Mamma mamma over and over, then you stop saying that for days. one days there is nothing you love more than chicken, few days later is zucchini, then peas, then potatoes, then rice. Now it’s the cherry tomatoes from our garden.

You also started to be a little naughty… you throw food on the floor -especially when you see you cause a reaction-. It super tough not to laugh when you do so and then gift us with your irresistible smile, but it’s time we start a little discipline… You are understanding what we say, and it’s just amazing. It’s like you’ve been absorbing all kind of information until one day you finally learn to code to decipher it and understanding it. And now nothing can stop you! We play chinese cups, throw balls, peekaboo, being silly -you know when I’m being silly and you caught so hard!-, you also make up games on your own. You like to put toys on top of your tow box and then push them until the fall on the other side.

We also brush teeth every night. I want to start the good habits right away. You’ve been falling asleep quite easily, around 8.30-9pm, and sleeping through the night.

You can also wave bye-bye! And you point at everything! You love the moon and airplanes. Birds. Anything in the sky.

I’m sure I’m forgetting some of the things you’ve learned, but they are plenty! And one day at dinner Dad was looking at you and he said “He is so cute… it’s not even fair!” which -believe me!- said by dad is the greatest compliment. I don’t think he’s ever said that to anybody.

And oh! I gave you your first haircut! That was awesome and you looked so handsome and cool with your little mohawk! Also older, but so cute!

Another thing you do is the duck face. We don’t know where you’ve seen that but you did it for a week, then stop, now you are doing it again. And since yesterday you make a new face, you lift up your chin and close your lips tight together… I think you might have seen that from me. Ops!

You are still the reason of our daily smiles and laughs.

Going on a 9 hours flight with you scare the sh—- out of me (especially because Dad is scared of flying), but I cross my fingers and hope it’ll be all right. This is going to be our first big trip! How exciting!!

Love,

Mom

39 weeks in the Big world!

Dear Tristan,

last Saturday you were 9 months old! You spent in the outside world exactly the same amount of time you spent in my belly… Which makes you officially a big baby now. And which makes me already nostalgic. Of what, I’m not even sure. So far, you’ve become every day a little more awesome, so there is nothing to be nostalgic for… yet. I guess I’m nostalgic because I know that time is going by too fast and, eventually, you won’t be a baby anymore. I dread the time of tantrums and school, when everything we taught you will be something to go against and defy, I can hardly imagine how I’ll feel when you’ll be mad at means say something awful which you won’t even mean, but still, it’ll hurt. Then, I’ll be nostalgic. For now, I try to enjoy every moment of you.

March was an important month. On March 7th, you officially started day care. And I wanted to write back then. I felt so bad and cried so many times that I really wanted to write something for you to read to make you understand that we didn’t really have a choice. Like you’ll even care, or remember. Oh boy. Day care was hard. On you as much as on me. The babysitter couldn’t come anymore and all the others are just too expensive, so after long research Dad found a great place for you to go to. It’s in Parkland, which it’s like the Hamptons of this area, when people are nice and rich and behave and the houses are big with acres and acres of lands, and horses hang out in their park-size yards.

The feeling, when we went to see it, was good. Compared to the other ones we checked, it was a winner. Still, many things weren’t the way I wanted them, but I had to give in. We just didn’t have any other option.

We had just got on a great schedule that was working great fo all of us, and you were content and healthy. You would wake up at 7.30, nurse, go for a nice long walk, have a morning nap around 9.30, have a snack. Have lunch with us at 1pm, playtime, then afternoon nap around 2pm and you were waking up at 3.30-4pm. Then you would stay awake all afternoon, dinner at 7, bath time, nurse, bed time. That was working wonderfully.

We went together to the day care for an hour or so 3 days the week before, and you were a little scared, and didn’t want to leave me at all. I thought it was so noisy! Even the teachers were talking so loud. The songs, the animation videos, everything was so loud!! You are not used to that. How would you be able to sleep? Lunch time is at 11am, which is ridiculous, we just got you to eat at 1pm, with us, like a family! Now we have to change everything again?!? Nap time is from 12 to 2pm… that’s when you are more awake! How are we going to manage that?! These, and other thousands questions were harassing me.

On March 7th, I asked Dad to bring you, because I knew i couldn’t manage to leave you there. He said you were fine, and I came to pick you up at 1.30pm. It was a horrible horrible morning. The cameras weren’t working and the teacher who was supposed to text me was home sick, so for hours I had no idea how you were doing. I finally gave up and called the office and they said you were ok. I came to pick you up and you barely looked at me. On Wednesday, I dropped you off and picked you up at 3pm. That day, you cried from 6pm to 5.20am of the next morning. We didn’t know what got into you but you were unconsolable. I was so upset with the teachers, and the day care, the camera were still not working well, and when they did I saw you too often in the swing, where they put you to make you sleep at 12.30, even when you had a morning nap. So that you would wake up at 2pm, and by the time you got home you were exhausted and wouldn’t even eat and were too tired even to fall asleep. We spent the whole night carrying you and there was no way of putting you down without waking you up and start screaming again. You wanted to be held, and rocked, which is something you haven’t wanted in a very long time. The next morning, on Thursday, I dropped you off and Dad came to pick you up at 4.30pm. And when I got home, at 6pm, and saw you, for the first time you didn’t look cute. Your eyes were red from crying and tiredness, your nose was all covered with dry mucus and you were kind of stinky. And you weren’t smiling. Nothing we did made you smile. You, the baby that just few days before was cracking up with laughter, weren’t smiling. That really really made me feel horrible, a horrible mother. I wasn’t able to make my baby happy.

On Friday, they said you did a little better. And during the weekend, slowly you went back to a few smiles… Meanwhile you were recovering from the cough and cold you got. From Monday, it started to be a little easier. During that second week, you started to get used to the new routine, and to adjust to the new people, the other kids, the schedule, the trip in the car. You weren’t crying in the car on the way there anymore, and at the end of the week you were okay. You smiled at me from the rug where you were playing with teacher Elizabeth, we got used to the new sleeping pattern: if you woke up at 2pm, you would crash in the car on the way back home and that nap would keep you going until dinner and bed time. So we went back to normal. By Friday of the second week, I felt positive and that this would work out.

The 3rd week started, and you were doing great at the day care! The teachers also got to know you better, and were happy to see you in the morning, and you were smiling seeing them. You were more rested when I got home and happy. Even when you were sick, you didn’t skip a day and in less then 2 weeks you adjusted. I was so proud!! They told us you were the most popular kid in the class, that all the other babies wanted to touch your super blond hair, and during the time outside the older kids from the other classes all wanted to go see “the baby boy with the blue eyes”… I felt as proud as a peacock. You were a lovable, flexible and popular baby!

So, at the end of the story, I decided that we made a good choice. It was one of the hardest things I had to do, but we managed, and you did great. I was reconsidering the two options babysitter vs day care, and I changed my mind. Maybe it’s to make me feel better, but I’d rather send you to a day care, then hire somebody to stay with you all day. I thought.. what can a babysitter offer you? Nothing more than what I could –should– give you as a mother. And, no matter what Dad says, it would be totally normal if I was afraid you’d get confused and call her Mamma. It happened to me before (to be called mamma by kids I was looking after), and as flattered as that made me feel, I was horrified thinking about how a mother would feel about that. Not good. And even if I want you loved and well cared for, I also want to give you an opportunity, to meet different people, to make friends, to spend time with other babies, to understand the concept of sharing and playing together. I want you to become flexible and be able to adapt and learn. So, all considered, less than 2 weeks adjustment time was worth it. I am happy with our choice and this is mostly thank to you. You made it so easy… you are such a wonderful little boy.

Love,

Mom

I want to remember…

Dear Tristan,

no matter how many photos of you we’re taking, some moments just must be written down because it’s too difficult to catch the love in a photo (and your dad is never ready at the right time!!!).

The other day I got home from work, everything was quiet. You were on the couch with Dad and when I peaked through the door you smiled and squealed in delight. I went to get changed and you were saying “Mamma, mamma, mamma”. When I came back and I took you, I lifted you up in the air and you were smiling and I hugged you tight and you hugged me back and put your face in my neck while I was biting your chubby cheeks and we were just laughing like two idiots. I thought “This is the love. I wish I could frame this moment. Or videotape it and keep it forever. Whenever it feels too hard, watching this would make everything all right again”.

I like to bite your thighs and arms and neck, and you started to do the same to me. It’s wonderful your toothless bite! I thought you were doing it for emulation and yesterday I realised it might not be a good idea since you’ll get teeth soon and how can explain how to bite without using the teeth? And guess what. Yesterday afternoon we saw a tooth bud!!! You are getting your first tooth!!! That probably explains the biting more than my ’emulation theory’. Oh well. You’ve been a little cranky and yesterday you didn’t want food for the first time ever.

I’m excited but sad at the same time. A tooth! It’s a big change. Your smile will be different. Your face will be different. You might not nurse right anymore. You are growing up and I’m just not ready for that. Period. I’m pathetic.

You are also sitting up! I wouldn’t leave you unsupervised but I can move around a bit while you are sitting and you won’t fall over – almost never. You reach out to select your toys from the toy box. You also put the toys back in the box!!! Now I’m teaching you to “put stuff inside other stuff”.

And we are looking for a home day care. Tata Cathryn wants to be the backup or work 4 hours so we gotta find a solution. All the other babysitter are too expensive, it’s barely worth it for me to work at this point, if it means I have to hand over my salary to someone else who gets to spend time with you and see you growing every minute. I want to work… but only part time. So we are looking. Stress levels pretty high.

If I had that videotape I was taking about, I would watch it now. I’m gonna go look at you sleeping instead. That also work.

Love,

Mom