September 24, 2014 11:16 pm

Four Months Postpartum – CBAC Feelings

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about Thora’s birth, and how I feel about it now that several months have gone by.

I think the biggest thing that gets to me is feeling like a bad statistic. This is mostly in relation to the VBAC support group on Facebook that I’m still a member of. Instead of getting to be a part of the “I can do anything!” rah-rah VBAC group and feeling like I can share my experience freely, I’m inclined to not say much about my c-section in order to not provide “negativity.” I haven’t shared my birth story there yet because of this. I hate being the opposite of a success story.

And I know, “every birth is a success,” blah blah blah, but I’m still sad that I feel like I can’t participate or I’ll make people upset.

When preparing for a VBAC, everybody tells you to read all the positive stories you can and really get into the “I can do this” mindset. I hate that by posting my birth story, people will avoid reading it because it didn’t actually end in a vaginal birth and is therefore “negative.”

I’m sad that this was my only chance and it didn’t happen for me.

I’m sad that I still missed out on the first hour of my baby’s life because of some stupid hospital policy. Had I gotten my homebirth, I wouldn’t have been separated from her. To make matters worse, a few weeks ago the hospital updated its policy so babies can now stay with their moms in recovery post-surgery. I’m happy about that, but extremely disappointed they wouldn’t do it for me even though I asked.

I believe this c-section was probably necessary. I can’t really say that about my first. This makes me feel a little better because I don’t feel that I was lied to or misled, but it also angers me because I wouldn’t have been in the position of being a VBAC candidate in the first place if I wasn’t coerced into a c-section the first time.

If you labor in the hospital and end up with a c-section, nobody calls it a “failed hospital birth,” but because I labored at home, I’ve already been labeled a “failed homebirth” by a medical professional. That sucks, and it makes me feel bad.

The VBAC Facebook group terms what happened to me as a CBAC – a cesarean birth after cesarean – to indicate that the woman in question had attempted a VBAC versus going straight to a repeat c-section. I like that it acknowledges my effort, but I still hate that it ended that way.

I’m sad that my baby was weighed on a hard scale instead of inside the soft fabric baby hammock the midwives use. I’m sad that other midwifery clients get a “my midwife helped me out” onesie and I got a stupid blue and pink hat with the hospital logo – a constant reminder of what went wrong.

I’m sad nobody thought to take a photo of us as a family of four. Thora is almost five months old and I still don’t have one. Why didn’t anybody take a photo of us? (Why don’t they now?)

I still have the insomnia I came down with when I was pregnant, and these are all the things I think about at 3am when I’m not sleeping.

2 Comments >

August 26, 2014 11:54 pm

Thora – 3 Months

I think I blogged all the time when Wesley was an infant and the poor second baby gets a birth story and then radio silence for three months.

Thora has already crawled off our bed (because we are sinful, SINFUL people and *whispers* she sleeps on her tummy most of the time). She was terrified but perfectly fine and landed on her back on a stack of diapers. She did it at a day shy of three months old. Overachiever!

Baby rolls.

She slept through the night for the first time right at two months old, and BELIEVE YOU ME, I was as shocked as you could possibly imagine.

Wesley nursed every two hours around the clock for FOREVER (though I guess he often slept from 7pm-midnight at 3mos) but Thora really does not want us to interfere with her sleep. She doesn’t nurse to sleep. She indicates that she’s sleepy by going all red around the eyes and being fussy, so I lay her down in bed, awake, and then she goes to sleep and I don’t hear from her for hours.

She doesn’t require the backbreaking joggling with white noise that Wesley required, nor the Indiana Jones-style precious-cargo-transfer into the crib. I can plonk her down in the most awkward of ways and she’ll shift her body a bit and go right back to sleep. It’s a beautiful thing.

I describe her as being much fussier than Wesley was but a much better sleeper, so I am not going to complain. She goes to sleep at roughly 8pm and I don’t hear from her again until about 4am. Last night she started making a peep around 3 so I gave her a binky and she happily slept until 6am.

8pm to 6am. WHO IS THIS BABY?!

I don’t want any new parents or soon-to-be parents reading this and thinking this is normal and that their baby is messed up because it wants to be fed every hour and a half or two hours around the clock. I HAD ONE OF THOSE BABIES. Trust me. I think that sort of baby is more within the realm of normal than the sort I have now.

It also makes me laugh at the people with one baby who are like, “Yeah, it’s all in the nighttime routine. Lay them in bed – AWAKE – and they learn to fall asleep by themselves.” HA! AHAHAHA! No. It is the baby’s personality and general temperament that determines how they prefer to be put to sleep. As a baby, Wesley required so much effort on our part to fall asleep. When Thora was littler, I tried all the baby whisperer tricks I knew from having Wesley and she would. not. have. it. In fact, she just got madder and madder the more I tried to “put her to sleep.” As soon as I left her the hell alone, she was fine. Different babies require different approaches.

Anyway, she is a delight.

Fun with accessories on this thunderstormy day.

She’s very drooly and still a “happy spitter” who spits up all the time but gains weight just fine so who cares. (Me. Sort of. I do a lot of laundry.)

We still co-sleep/bedshare, but ever since she crawled off the bed I’ve been putting her down in our co-sleeper crib and then she comes to bed with me once she wakes up to nurse. She nurses just fine – no nipple shield! – and I can’t describe how freeing that is. I have not once felt like I needed to use a cover and I no longer live in fear of being caught somewhere without a shield, unable to nurse.

Jeggings McBaby, reporting for duty.

She’s rolled over a few times already – front to back – and it’s never been when I am actually watching her. I’ll set her down and turn around only to hear her squawking because she rolled onto her back and didn’t want to be there.

She laughed for the first time today. Grammie was playing with her and she thought it was the best ever.

We love her to bits.

"Aww, mom!"

1 Comment >

August 9, 2014 2:52 pm

Struggles

Those of you who follow me on Twitter have probably noticed a theme to my updates recently, and that theme is Wesley’s behavior and my inability to understand what’s going on in his head. Just today I had to drag him, screaming, out of the coffeeshop Daniel works at, and once we were at the car he clawed Thora’s head hard enough to leave marks and then at some point in the car on the way home, he dug his fingernails into her fat little arm hard enough to make her bleed.

I tried to get him to eat his lunch – he threw his shoes on the kitchen table instead – and when he refused to eat, I carried him (kicking and screaming) to his room for naptime. Once we were in his room, he grabbed a ukulele and swung it from behind his back, over his head, to throw it across the room.

I sobbed on Wesley’s floor for a good fifteen minutes after that.

——

There are many points during any given day where I feel like I’m raising a tiny sociopath. I love him to bits, but I see now why my mother-in-law calls this age the “fucking fours.”

He loves Thora, but he always wants to be RIGHTINHERFACE and he frequently scares her by running up behind her, jumping, and landing next to her while making a loud noise. He hoots and shouts in her face. I cannot count the number of times I say “back up, please!” or “please don’t shout at her face” in a given day. Far too many. And he ignores me every single time.

I’m afraid to take him anywhere in public. Anything I say could set him off and he’ll be throwing himself on the ground, kicking, and scream-crying at the top of his lungs. It can be anything from “Please don’t poke me with that stick” to “We’ll need to leave in five minutes.” He’s completely unpredictable and I walk on eggshells around him, even in our own home. I hid in the kitchen yesterday to put away a puzzle so that he wouldn’t see me, because I was afraid he would come unhinged if he noticed me.

——

I finally broke down and bought a parenting book for the first time in yearsPeaceful Parent Happy Kids. I saw it recommended twice within three days and it seemed like it would address a lot of the issues we’ve been having.

Reading through it, it seems so obvious – the tantrum that’s happening is actually about something else: their “emotional backpack” is full to overflowing, and you need to empathize with them to help them get all their feelings out before they can start acting rational again. It’s all about empathy. This is the easiest thing to do – “Oh buddy, I’m sorry we’re not able to get kettle corn today. I see you’re very disappointed. Now you’re crying. You’re very sad we can’t get kettle corn today.” but it feels SO WRONG and SO HARD and SO STUPID when you’re in the moment. SO UNBELIEVABLY SCHMOOPY AND STUPID. It’s very simple and yet so hard to actually put into practice because FFS, you just threw your shoe at me, I AM NOT GIVING YOU KETTLE CORN.

When trying out the techniques in the book, I find that they sometimes work short-term, but the jury is still out on whether they work long-term. Like, it seems to help him stop crying or throwing a fit in the moment – certainly much better than other methods – but it totally has not reduced the frequency of the tantrums. Yet, I guess – I will persist.

——

Clearly, Wesley is hurting. A lot. And I feel terrible about that. My plan of action right now is as follows:

1. Keep up the empathizing as outlined in the book.
This does seem to help.

2. Give in to his “regressive” requests more often.
Lately, he’s been wanting me to put his shirt on for him or scoop his breakfast yogurt or be his “bathroom buddy” – all things he’s been doing by himself for YEARS at this point. I give in sometimes, but sometimes I really need him to just put the damn shirt on already. I will try to make a point of giving in more often to show that it’s still okay to ask Mommy for help even if you don’t truly need it.

3. Get some one-on-one time with him.
This will be hard for me. He doesn’t listen to anything I say and routinely hurts me (kicking, pinching, etc.) and as a result, I’m finding myself not really wanting to hang out with him. Plus it’s hard to do with a baby sister who needs her mama every two hours to eat. But! I will do my best. This is also a technique in the book.

4. Continue praising good behavior.
I’ve always made a point to “catch” him being good and praise him for it. “You were using a very gentle voice with Thora! Thanks!” or “Thanks for using your manners so well at the store. You stayed right by me and were walking instead of running, and you asked before putting things in the cart.” I will definitely continue this, as I think it helps reinforce – for BOTH of us – that yes, he is a good kid at heart.

8 Comments >