Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Super Mom Goes Down

Today was Ansley's 2 month checkup. I took a quarter of a day at school, after much begging and pleading of the husband, and met my mom at home. We were to ride there together, get her shots, and then head home. Nothing too traumatic.

I cried the first time she got a shot, so I thought maybe I'd be exempt this time. Nope. It still hurts. Ansley hardly ever cries, and it's usually very mild as crying goes. So when she cries out loud and in pain, it is awful! Heart-wrenchingly awful. I didn't try to fight the tears because I figured they are normal and just part of the whole mommy package. So when we left a few minutes later and Ansley was happily asleep, I thought it was over.

On our way home, we stopped by Target to get her prescription, because it was also announced that she has thrush. Yay! I felt for sure I would have known if she had had thrush or not, based on my vast newborn experience (not!) and the descriptions in my baby books. That makes you an expert, right? Well, it didn't appear anything like what I thought it would, and I felt totally dumb and totally guilty. She has had this white stuff on her tongue for over a month! But it wasn't curdy like I'd pictured, and no one said anything about it at the last checkup, so I figured it was just a normal, milk-loving baby tongue. How could she have had this yeast infection the whole time and me not know it? Getting over my annoyance with my own ignorance didn't take too long, and a Frappuccino made it pretty much disappear. On the way home with her prescription and a bottle of generic Tylenol, I felt pretty darn good about this whole parent thing. How hard can it be? I've been wiping her butt and taking names for a whole 8 weeks now. A few hours later, however, I was frantic. Ansley started fussing, and the fussing grew to whining. The whining turned to wailing and then to full-out screams that set me in a panic. Ignorance, welcome back! I was helpless when faced with this- you always think there is SOMETHING you can do to stop the crying, and when there is no magic answer, it is bewildering, humbling, and downright terrible. My baby was hurt and in pain and I couldn't do anything to soothe her. I couldn't believe how powerless and small it made me feel.

Kevin off at sports, I called him hysterically crying and told him how upset she was. Except MY upset caused him to hear nothing but crying and unintelligible garble. I was mad that he wasn't with me when I needed him. I needed someone to help, and he was coaching a lacrosse game. He was frustrated with my crying, telling me that I needed to calm down or I would only upset her more. Which doesn't calm me down, by the way. But, he is coaching to help supplement our income, so I can't blame him for not being there. Either way, his scolding just upset me more, and I had so many tears flowing down my cheeks it was hard to see straight. Finally, I pulled myself together long enough to give her the infant tylenol, and just hugged her little body. Even if she was going to cry until the medicine began to work, she needed to be held close and feel loved by mommy. And I needed the closeness to my baby, with the knowledge that I was trying everything I could to make her feel loved and safe. It seemed like a long time until the crying began to wane, but Ansley finally settled down. The next few hours brought little episodes of sharp cries and screams every few minutes, but sleep won over and I laid her in her lambie swing so her little chub legs wouldn't be jostled. Some of the longest moments of my life, for sure. The title of Super Mom is a long way off...

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Workin' Mama

I went back to work yesterday. I began dreading it almost as soon as we brought Ansley home. Three days old and I was already worried about having to leave my baby. Talk about neurotic! And also totally normal. No mom wants to leave their child. But some moms can do it more easily than others: maybe they're ready to go back to work, maybe they're ready for adult interaction. I was neither. Definitely didn't want to do the 9 to 5 (or 7 to 4) instead of cuddling with my little girl. And good luck with adult interaction- I teach third graders all day! Sunday night, I was a total blubbering wreck and spent the better part of an hour sobbing in my husband's lap. Ansley was going to his aunt's house (who is closer to our age than our parents), and is completely loving and fun. Of course she would be taken care of. But not by me, her mom who knows how to do everything "just right". As much "just right" as eight weeks will teach you anyway! But I'm not fooling anyone. The real reason is that I just wanted to be with Ansley every minute. I was so upset that I would miss almost all of her day, and the little moments would be lost during the minutes I wasn't spending with her. I couldn't help but think of the missed smiles, coos, warm hugs, sweet eyes. They would be given to someone else besides mommy. It was killing me!

But Monday morning came, and even though I teared up a few times at the beginning, I had to muster my strength and get through the day. Kevin volunteered to drop Ansley off for me to make it easier, even though Melissa's house is past my work and he doesn't have to go anywhere near that side of the county. I'm convinced the day would have been much harder if I had taken her, so I'm so thankful he did that for me. Armed with my Caramel Macchiato, I stepped into my classroom for the first time in almost 8 weeks. And you know what? It wasn't as horrible as I was anticipating. There were some kids that got on my nerves (as always), and I definitely missed my girl, but I got back into the flow and the day went by quickly. And the very best part of going back to work was the excitement I felt when I left to pick her up. I grinned and laughed and sang happy songs to myself all the way there. It was ridiculous how happy I was to go and get my baby girl! When I scooped her up into my arms and gave her a warm, loving hug, everything felt alright. And it was.