The Days are Long but the Years (and Months) are Short

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Today is my birthday, almost baby girl’s half birthday and coincidentally my 200th post. Going for the trifecta! Birthdays, much like New Years, beget reflection. This will be the last year in my 20’s, which makes me sad just because I feel infinitely 21 or, maybe 25. I just can’t wrap my brain around ageing, and I don’t feel older, most of the time. More mature and adult-y, but not older. Obviously a lot has changed between this year and last, and even more from the year before that, it feels like a blur. Yet when I am spending my days trying to entertain an infant, get her to sleep, trying to fit in solid food, and keep the house going, the hours can drag. 

My little peanut is not so little anymore, weighing in around 16 1/2 lbs and measuring 25″ a couple of weeks ago. She gained 2 lbs and 1 1/4″ in a month, my growing girl! She has just recently started sitting unsupported for short bouts, and if she is on the couch or sitting against the boppy pillow she is perfectly stable. She was rolling from back to tummy around Christmastime but since the new year she doesn’t do it much anymore, and she still just flails around when on her belly. For some reason she doesn’t push up on her arms, she just uses her core to lift her chest off the floor but she tires of that pretty quickly so tummy time is often, but short. Plus if I put her on her tummy too soon after her last feed, she’s guaranteed to spit up. She is really strong standing, while supported. Just last night I was trying to sit her in her crib but she wouldn’t bend her legs so I put her standing at her crib rail and she held on and stood there without me holding her. She looked so grown up! 

We started solids about 3 weeks ago but it’s been slow going. She has taken pretty well to oatmeal pretty well but sometimes she just flat out refuses it for seemingly no reason. She loves sweet potatoes, and butternut squash. She was sort of indifferent to avocado, does not like applesauce (too tart I think), mango was a big no (a bit too strong of a flavour, maybe) and she puked after the three bites of peas I gave her. Carrots yesterday were so-so but I’ve heard bananas are usually a big hit so we’ll try those soon.

We went to Mexico in early January for a week. While it was a nice to escape winter for a while, and not have to cook or clean, ultimately you still have to, you know, be a parent. We’re going to California at the end of April because hubby has a conference, so we’re tagging along (woot woot!), and we’re planning on going to Vancouver for baby girls first birthday, just ’cause. Gotta make the most of being on mat. leave and not using up my vacation time. Have baby, will travel!

I don’t speak of it often, for fear of jinxing, but nighttime sleep has been very good since around 3 months, with a minor blip during, and for a week or two after, Mexico. She wakes up earlier than I appreciate, but I can’t complain about a full nights sleep with an early wake up call. Naps are my nemesis. My baby has high sleep needs, so her little 45 minute “catnaps” do nothing to stave off tiredness, yet she can’t connect two sleep cycles and fights being put back to sleep after waking from a catnap. So we have nap battles where I try to get her to go back to sleep and she screams, or I give in and just get her up which results in her being tired 20 minutes later and just generally crabby. I’m going to try some sort of nap sleep training before I lose my mind.

Breastfeeding is still going strong which I didn’t anticipate. In the beginning I had such a hard time getting her latched, I was uncomfortable and awkward feeding in front of anyone but my husband, yet I hated (still do) the cover, my supply sucked, breastfeeding took forever and baby never seemed satisfied. I took it day by day, with a goal of making it to my 6 week check up, then the 8 week mark, then 3 months. By the time we got to Christmas, it wasn’t even a question. I was so glad to be breastfeeding when we went to Mexico, it just made it infinitely easier to be able to whip out a boob, whenever, wherever. And I generally do just that. I’m over my discomfort of feeding in public. While I’m definitely still uncomfortable exposing myself, I’ve figured my wardrobe to help me be discreet without the nursing cover. Plus baby and I are both a lot more confident, it’s just easy and takes a lot less time than it used to, though she is rather distractable now.

So that’s life in a nutshell. Bored out of my skull one minute as I watch my pudgy girl play with her toy apple with the intensity of a brain surgeon, while the next minute I wonder where my teeny tiny brand new baby went. Still learning to adjust to this pace of life, but baby girl’s sweet face is the only birthday present I need this year. Except for maybe a spa day…

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Milestones

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Never have I been more aware of life’s milestones, than throughout this infertility journey. It has become glaringly obvious that I am not hitting the societal milestone of having children in a timely fashion (according to the general population’s opinion).

All through life we are measure by our milestones. First smile, first steps, first day of school, first date, high school graduation, university graduation (or integration into the workforce if choosing to by pass post secondary), marriage, and then babies. Once the babies are born, we not only progress our own milestone but we then begin placing them onto our children. We also aid in our own parents achievements by giving them grand babies. So at this point, not only am I am failing at my own milestones, but in turn denying my mother her milestone of being a grandmother.

My best friend had her second child, another boy, by schedule cesarean last Wednesday. I took some comfort in knowing when he was coming, so I could brace myself for the blow. I wished her luck the day before and told her I would visit her when she was feeling up to it. She sent me a picture the day he was born, his little face all perfect, spared from bruising and scratches by not being squished through the birth canal, and a shock of black hair that their first baby most certainly did not have. It made my heart cringe a little, but I was, and I am happy for her.

I expected her to be in the hospital for a few days as she was there 4 or 5 days last time but they discharged her on the Friday morning. I was surprised and a little disappointed as I figured if I visited her in the hospital there would be ample excuses to make a quick exit. I recalculated my plan, and we decided to visit her at home on Sunday afternoon, as we had dinner plans at J’s parents’ that evening, and would provide us a reason to leave.

When we arrived at their house her husband was just leaving to pick up some groceries for dinner. I knocked gently on the front door, just in case one of the kids was sleeping. My friend came to the door, walking gingerly, still with a rather large belly. Her older son was in fact sleeping, so we made our way quietly into the living room where the newest addition was sleeping. She gingerly scooped him out of his playpen and passed him over to me.

I love new babies and their tiny little features. His adorable little bow mouth, frowning and suckling in his sleep, minature fingers and toes with even tinier little nails and his dark mop of hair in all it’s glory, little baby sideburns and all. He was adorable, and I told her so. I held him, J held him. He got hungry when I had him in my arms, so they got him a bottle made (she does not breastfeed) and I fed it to him. I burped him, and coddled him. We made small talk, and I asked her how everything went, how she was feeling, and how her older boy is dealing with it all. We brought a gift for the new baby, and a book for her older one. I always feel bad when there is a second child born and the first child is ignored in favour of the new baby.

After I had exhausted the list of perfunctory questions to ask about her, and the new baby there was a bit of a lull in the conversation. It got a bit awkward and I wished we could just leave at that point, but we hadn’t been there all that long. Luckily, her husband came back and that somewhat revived the conversation. I told the tales of the bridal shower/stagette I had attended and the upcoming wedding. It made me realize again what different lives her and I lead by the stories we had to share with each other.

After a sufficient amount of time, and chit chat had passed, and it was time to be getting to our dinner plans, we excused ourselves, congratulated them again and made our exit. Before even reaching the car I let out a big sigh. There was a bit of an awkwardness in the air of the visit. I know my friend would realize it would be a tricky time for me, but she could never know how truly painful it was.

When we got in the car, I leaned back into my seat and all I could manage was, “that was really hard”. We pulled away from their perfect suburban home, and back out onto the main road and the emotions started to bubble up. I gulped a big breath of air, and told J that I didn’t think it would be that hard, choking down a lump in my throat, tears threatening to spill onto my cheeks. At that moment, it was either break into hysterical sobs, or take a deep breath and hold it together. I know I didn’t have to stuff it down, but I decided I didn’t want to breakdown right then and there. We were headed to J’s parents and I wanted just to move on, for the moment. When I am alone, and safe, I will let it out. I will cry for all the sad moments I’ve endured with a smile plastered on my face. I will release it on my terms.

J held my hand the whole way, as he drove to his parent’s house. It was a good distraction to be at his parent’s, and not focus on the pain. J has recently become rather vague with his mom (who is the one in the family who asks about how things are going) as he just doesn’t want to discuss it with her anymore, nor have more questions when we begin the IVF process, so we had a rather innocuous dinner conversation.

My friend reached another milestone, her second child, and the completion of her family. I reached a more bittersweet milestone, by passing two years trying to bring our own child into the world. And just tonight, my cousin and his wife had their twin boys, about 7 weeks early, but everyone is doing well. Just another reminder that I am falling behind.

I don’t so much care what the rest of society thinks about when and how I should meet the expected milestones, but I am ready. I want to reach this next benchmark for myself, and for J.