Scene: Baby cries and attempts to break free of his amazing, miraculous swaddle blanket for the 24,986th time. This time, he wants food. Husband picks him up from the co-sleeper and changes him before handing him off to me in bed for a feeding. Baby is fed and put back into his super secure blanket made for none other than crazy babies who flail their arms like lunatics. Baby is back in the co-sleeper attempting to break free once again, but instead grunting as loud as his little body will allow. A conversation begins.
Husband: So how are you doing in the head?
Me: Um, okay. I had a PTSD moment yesterday.
Husband: What about?
Me: I was driving home from Danielle's and looked in the rear view mirror at B in the back seat and was certain his lips were bright red/purple.
Husband: Like A-man's, huh?
Me: Yeah. It took everything in me not to pull off to the side of the road to check and make sure he was still alive. I know it's totally irrational to assume that within 5 minutes my son would be dead and his lips turned that awful color on an 82-degree day, but I swore I saw it.
Husband: I have had a few of those moments, too, where I have to stop and look closely to make sure he's still alive.
PTSD plays tricks with your mind. It's awful. There just is no proper way to describe that horrendous color, is there?
This morning was B's third doctor's appt. since he left the NICU on February 26th. He's officially 4 weeks old and marks one month out of my belly tomorrow. I think I'm most shocked by not being pregnant than I am him being a month old. I've just spent so much of the last few years pregnant that I don't know what to do with myself!
Back to the appt. B's last appt. showed he was at 7lb 3oz. at 2 weeks old. He was expected to be back to his birth weight (7lb 6oz.) but was not. He wasn't the best eater for his first three days of life as he couldn't breathe and was struggling to master that. I'm proud to say, however, that in those 2 weeks+ since his last appointment, he hasn't had a single bottle or drop of formula. He has been exclusively breastfed and is now at a whopping 8lb even. It's always the fear of a breastfeeding mother that their child is not getting enough-- especially when they seem ready to eat just an hour or two after the last feeding. Knowing the doctor was still concerned about his weight gain, she had us schedule a 4-week weight checkup for today (yay, another co-pay!). He made sure to pee all over their table. Atta boy. I felt a bit defeated after that last appointment, as you can imagine. He had left the NICU based on our demands and had been eating like a champ, but was still not up to the recommended weight.
Maybe it's a misconception, but as a BLM, I feel a strong urgency to prove myself as a mother. I know that breastfeeding is best for B. We knew that pulling him from the NICU when we saw he had healed of his TTN was the right decision. We're taking every extra precaution to shield him from germs as we can in his infancy. I still can't help but feel like I'm being judged on the outside for being an unfit mother. I am not asking for reassurance, just stating a fact. When one of your children is dead, it lowers your confidence and ability to judge just how well your mother's intuition works. It didn't work the first time... so why now? Others must think the same. They must think that I don't have what it takes to be a fit mother. It's completely false, but it's also something I'm totally sensitive about. I'm no expert, but I might assume that's another area of PTSD that creeps in to invade what good is left or left uncovered in my life.
I spend hours upon hours just reveling in how beautiful and precious our son is. I'm thankful for every moment. I just know I'll miss these moments. With every grunt, cry, movement, breath... I'm still in absolute awe that this little baby came from my body and he is ours.
2 days ago