Sunday, August 4, 2013

Lost and Found

All my life I've heard mothers say that having children sort of makes you lose yourself and boy let me tell you...that is not an exaggeration. 

I tend to create a highly romanticized version of my past self in my mind. I seem to remember myself as being far more disciplined and perfect then I probably really was. I lost a lot of weight after high school and taught myself to eat very well and exercise frequently. I studied my scriptures every day. My prayers tended to be more fervent and less 'let's hurry this up so that I can go to sleep already!' I read more often, wrote more often, played the piano and sang all the time, listened to music, hung out with friends every day, took spontaneous road trips, went running daily and wrote in my journal every night. Before I had kids, I had become, in large part, the person that I'd always wanted to be. 

And now I'm just Luke and Samuel's Mama. I cook for them, clean for them, bathe them, change them, cuddle and kiss them, read to them (and trust me, toddler literature is not as fascinating as you'd think. There are only so many one-syllable words that rhyme.) wake for them, dance with them and take them to play with friends and attend all manner of toddler-appropriate activities to keep them engaged, happy and learning.

I don't run any more. Eating healthy now means adding green beans to the mac and cheese. I have 20 pounds to lose as a direct result of having carried and delivered two healthy little boys. My prayers are (sadly) often a race to the finish line so that I can complete the next task or crash into my bed. My scripture study has become a one-handed activity done on my smart phone during my nursing sessions. Church is now a battle-field on which I often admit defeat and hand my kid Angry Birds just to keep him quiet. 

I have lost myself. 

And while I struggle to find myself again and reinvent this new Mama version of me, it occurs to me that losing yourself in exchange for giving someone else life might just be the greatest sacrifice you can make. "Greater love hath no man than this; that he lay down his life for his friends." 

My life has been laid down for you, my boys. I put myself away everyday so that I can give you the life and love that you deserve. My desires and fears and wants and needs are often put on a back burner in order to allow you the growth and happiness that you came here for. I don't know of any experience in life that better creates the opportunity to learn selfless service; to follow the example set by Christ and give your life for others. I'm grateful everyday that I am allowed to be your mother. I'm grateful that I am the one who can make you laugh. I'm grateful that my voice calms your cries. I'm grateful to be the person that you run to when you're hurt, embarrassed, shy or afraid. 

Even though she is (for now) slightly nondescript, I'm grateful to be your Mama.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Samuel: The Birth

Well holy moly. It's been an entirely ridiculous amount of time between blog entries. The thing is, is that I've got this new baby here. And a two-year-old. And almost no time when I'm laying around thinking, "Hm. What should I do now?" Also our new baby, (whom I love and adore) despite being the most phenomenal sleeper IN ALL THE LAND is quite a fussy little man when he's awake during the day. That makes things like cooking, cleaning, taking care of Luke and (blogging) very nearly impossible. Because even when the rare occasion arises in which I have two hands at my disposal, there is very often a screaming baby in the background to whom I am hormonally and biologically programmed to respond. When that response is delayed because I'm -oh I don't know- saving Luke's life or something, my brain explodes in a frightening array of emotions and it's very nearly impossible to concentrate on anything but the sounds of my shrieking newborn. So. Right now I find myself in this unprecedented moment wherein both of my babies are still asleep, Shem is out of town, and I'm being a little lazy (aka scared out of my mind about tackling the pile of dishes in the sink) Conditions are perfect for blogging.

Facts about Samuel:
He is my fighter baby. That kid survived a terrifying mess of problems while he was inside of me and then a handful of them when he was on his way out. He's such a squirmy, active little thing and he's been that way since he could move. He was even a little more active than Luke was when he was inside of me. Apparently all that movement earned him a good little knot in his umbilical chord. At some point, he wrapped himself up in that thing and cause a true knot which became tighter and tighter every time I pushed and caused his heart rate to decelerate. And it never came back up. So the on-call doctor who was delivering me suddenly became a raging lunatic psychopath who caused the entire already terrifying experience of having an emergency C-section to become actually psychologically damaging. He flew into a raging panic and started yelling at everyone and frantically wheeling me out of the room to the OR where he proceeded to yell at ME about how I was moving too slowly and was going to lose my baby. awesome.

They ended up putting me under (because the psychopath of a doctor was freaking me out so badly that I was literally screaming at them that I wasn't numb yet as he was poking at prodding at me after I was strapped to the table). Shem missed the birth. I missed the birth. Samuel was welcomed into the world not by his Mama and Daddy, but by a bunch of nurses who had been desperately trying and mostly failing to rope the doctor's crazies in a little bit. They took his vitals and the kid scored an almost perfect score on the Apgar test. Then they woke me up and let me feed him. I was so disoriented upon waking up, however, that I didn't register that there was a beautiful, brand new baby boy nursing in my arms. I was just crying and crying and asking if he'd made it...if everything was okay. After a few minutes the nurses and Shem finally convinced me that he was just fine and he was nursing happily and had scored a 9.9 on his Apgar test and so I just sat and held him and was finally able to be madly in love with him and in awe over his perfection.

Not the ideal delivery by any stretch.

I would have (eventually) been fine with a C-section if that Doctor hadn't been so panicked. Hadn't made me think I was losing the baby. Hadn't blamed me for it. Twice. I'm still so shaken about his behavior and about how badly I was treated by him that I don't ever want to deliver at that hospital ever, ever again. I've been struggling with the idea of ever even delivering again period. Let alone under similar circumstances in similar surroundings.

BUT in the end, my perfect, handsome, sweet little Samuel is here and I couldn't be happier about that. I can't tell you how good it feels to have a newborn in my arms again. It's completely addicting. No wonder I was so baby hungry. He smells good and fits right in my arms and has no choice but to snuggle with me. And he looks at things with utter amazement. I love to watch him discover the world. I'm absolutely in love with him. Even though he's frequently a crab-muffin when he's awake and not nursing. =)

He's almost 6 weeks old already! I just can't believe it's going this fast. As he gets older, he's getting a little calmer and is starting to have longer and longer awake stretches in which he just looks around pleasantly and takes in his surroundings.

Let me tell you the other miraculous thing about this baby who survived a car wreck, pre-term labor and a true knot in his umbilical chord:

He sleeps through the night.

I'm not kidding you people. This child has been sleeping through the night since he was 2 and a half weeks old. And I'm not even talking he sleeps four hours at a time. He literally sleeps. Through. The. Night. Like, last night he did 8 hours. The night before? 9. The shortest stretch he's had in a few days was 6. Even at the VERY beginning (like just a few days old) he'd sleep 4 hours at a time. What. Tender mercies, guys. Tender mercies. I'm convinced that this miracle was essential because it enables me to stay really patient with his fussy moments and with his two-year-old brother.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: all of this stuff is completely worth it. My body is not the same, I've been through the ringer in terms of pain and crappy pregnancy symptoms, my deliveries have both had a few hiccups but it's all completely worth it. I love being a Mama. I love it with all of my heart.