2009 Reflections

I know. Boring. But know what else? I have a napping baby (yay!), occupied kids (yay!), snow on the roads, and while I was going to make waffles during the nap, I ruined three out of four remaining eggs when I poured in buttermilk that I then decided was just too far gone. SO I have some time here.

2009 was such a tough year for so many people. Great people who are absolute blessings in my life got piles of shit dumped in their lives and it's beyond unfair. I can't hope enough that 2010 brings nothing but hope, health, and prosperity for all but especially those who have had a crummy 2009.

But there have been joys for me this year. Shortly after the new year was rung in, we remembered the pregnancy that we lost in the summer of 2008 as what would've been the due date came and went. We then got a peek at Charlie at 11 weeks or so. Had my first prenatal appointment with my midwife on Inauguration Day -- joy upon joy!

Our family had the pleasure of watching our daughter and son grow along with my belly. Seeing Chim Chim and Badger become buddies (with a healthy dose of rivalry) has been a blast. Badger had his first ER visit and a mild concussion in the spring, fun! We rehabed our basement so my husband could have a nice quiet(-er) place to work, which really expanded our living space. We were getting ready to become a family of five!

Which we did, on July 28th. Charlie. What a great baby. What an amazing time in my life. Just as Badger's birth was a redemption of sorts of the negative experience of Chim's birth, Charlie's birth provided a measure of healing from the miscarriage, a regaining of the confidence that my body is strong and capable -- and yet I understand now more fully that the emotions aren't raging, there will always be a gaping, glaring omission from my... life? soul? heart? Wherever the hole is, it's there and the ache will never be filled, nor should it.

The mothering of Charlie is so much more in line with how I have always wanted to do it, and I'm thrilled. It's been a huge adjustment but I think I'm dodging the postpartum depression that I should have better addressed the last 2 times. I am confident that it has a LOT to do with what a comparatively awesome sleeper C. is, compared to his big brother, and I'm reasonably sure that it's due to cosleeping this time around. Not to say that the sleeping is perfect but it's so much better than I was prepared for.

And the big kids are getting SO grown up. Chim started full-time Pre-K and Badger is in a Transition to Early Childhood program, which not only addresses his speech issues (which are SO improved) but will get him ready for a full-time Pre-K when the time comes.

The holidays have come and gone once again, and we celebrated with family and friends. We were able to spend a bit of time with friends from Germany visiting Pittsburgh in October, and I got to see one of my longest-lasting friends, glowingly pregnant, which was beyond worth the drive.

2010 will probably bring more changes, of course. I love making resolutions these days. I used to be very vocal about the amount of suckage contained in New Years, but now that I am a little more aware about the speed of time passing, I see the value in looking back, looking forward. My hopes for 2010 for my life are to get back into both work and home life with a renewed vigor, now that we're getting the hang of this family of 5 with 2 kids on different school schedules thing. I am hoping to get in shape, with The Run Around the Square being a goal for me (to run/walk/finish on hands-and-knees). More generally, I really want to be more present, to make new connections and strengthen neglected ones (like this blog).

Deciding when to return to work

The first thing I want to say is that I fully recognize how awesome it is that we're able to have any choice in the matter -- a lot of women, if they're lucky, have their 6 weeks unpaid leave, before they have to go back to work or lose their jobs.

But nonetheless!

When does a doula go back to doula-ing after her own birthing time?

My boss offered me a client who had a due date in October. Two and a half months after my own son's birth. I just couldn't fathom that we'd be ready by then and I was right to decline. Now, here we are at Charlie's 5-month birthday and lo and behold... I still don't feel ready. It makes me wonder -- when will I be ready and what constitutes "ready"?

My practical concerns are most easily calculated. Charlie doesn't take a bottle or cup and he's not on solids yet. So he'd, you know, starve. The second factor is that he doesn't sleep through the night, which leaves me not really fully functional the next day. At least, not the high level of functioning that I expect of myself when I work. I'm cool for fingerpainting and singing Itsy Bitsy Spider 19,382 times but not for providing support for a woman at one of the most pivotal moments of her life. To say nothing of the fact that frankly, I feel like I'm barely making it from day to day as it is and there's no way I could deal with being on call, leaving for a day or two, and expecting my husband to handle what I barely can!

The emotional/mental concerns -- now, this is tricky. I know I'm just too close to my birthing experience to detach enough to assist another woman. When I hear friends talking about their births I can't help finding parallels (or... perpendiculars?) with Charlie's birth. I think my birthing experiences are valuable as a doula but I also think that if I can't focus on my client without bringing my own emotions into it -- I'm not being the best doula to her.

I don't know how I'll know when I'm ready -- I just know that right now, I'm not.

Charlie the Wonder Baby

I hope you all are having a lovely winter holiday season. Our main holiday is Christmas and we had a really pretty low-key celebration -- perfect! We went to services on Christmas Eve, then out to dinner with friends and home to wait for Santa. Opened presents and then made the trip over the mountains to my parents' house where we celebrated with all my brothers, their families, and a cousin I've not seen in a good 6 years. The kids had a lovely time, especially THE BABY.

THE BABY was the hit of the weekend and everyone commented on how pleasant he is, how happy he is, how he clearly loves everyone and everything.


The opinion from some of those giving the praise was that he should already be eating solids, he should not be breastfeeding as much ("Oh, I don't want to give you back to your momma, you can't be hungry, you JUST ATE!"), we should not be cosleeping, and we babywear excessively and hold him too much. And ooooooooh boy, did you see that the child is not circumcised?!

So even though we're committing all those parenting 'mistakes' he's a lovely baby. He's delightful in spite of our failures.

No chance he's a happy little dude because he has no reason NOT to be happy?

Contest on Crunchy Domestic Goddess

Enter here to win a gift basket from Equal Exchange Fair Trade, from Crunchy Domestic Goddess! Good luck and Happy Holidays :)

A Mom Goes to Extraordinary Lengths for her VBAC.

Mom gets her vbac

I am so glad that she had a great vbac! How absurd that she had to go to such lengths.

So. Tired. And Ho, ho, ho, too.

I hope this finds anyone who is still reading my poor blog well. Life as a mom of 3 is really kicking my butt lately. The formerly awesome sleeper is really not doing very well in the sleeping department for the past, oh, 2 1/2 months, but he sure is adorable and sweet when we're holding him! Put him down, though, and oh the crying! I am trying to keep my head on straight this time -- Badger was the same way and it really did drive me nuts. I don't want to be nuts again. I have been feeling a little bit nuts lately between the sleep issues, keeping kids' schedules straight, and recovering from our Thanksgiving trip to New England and preparing for Christmas. I'm trying to simplify and appreciate what is important.

This time around I really feel like I'm parenting the baby the way I wanted to with the other two but didn't have the information, resources, or courage of convictions. Since I am not comfortable bedsharing due to hubby's ability to sleep through anything, Superbaby's in an Arm's Reach Cosleeper. However, once he wakes up at night, he won't go back to sleep unless I am holding him... so we end up with him in our bed anyway. I wear him a lot, and still exclusively breastfeeding. Cloth diaper is going MUCH better. I really like the BumGenius 3.0s.

Badger's doing really well -- he's in a 2-day-a-week program that gets kids with special needs ready for Pre-K, and he just loves it. Chim is still doing well in her Pre-K and she's really looking forward to Christmas.

In doula news -- well, I am still not able to work since the baby's still not nearly sleeping through the night. In addition to not wanting to leave my husband with a baby that he can't soothe, I can't imagine what a terrible doula I'd be, being as sleep-deprived as I am. I'm barely functioning in my role as cook, chauffeur, and Santa Claus. But I have been getting the itch to go back to births -- been starting to read the birth blogs again, etc. December offered two birthy events -- Heart & Hands' Doula Service quarterly meeting, where it was so nice to touch base with all the doulas, and a party for Mr. Midwife, who marked 10 years of catching babies in Pittsburgh.

So my friends -- please do forgive me for being so terrible about blogging. I'm sure it's just left a gaping hole in your lives. ;) I just wanted to put out some happy holiday wishes!