Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Not Our First Rodeo

It seems I post about this same subject every now and again. Obviously Mother's Day and Father's Day came and went this year and we have B in our arms to hug and love on. We're thankful. We feel lucky-- like we scored the biggest deal or something just being able to bring home a live baby from the hospital.

My husband came home from work yesterday and told me that he was excited about working the next day, because then no one would congratulate and ask him how his first Father's Day was anymore. That the day after would be over. Reminds me a bit of when he returned to work after losing Andrew and he had to deal with the awkward condolences and overly sad looks. He was happy to go back as soon as possible, not only to distract himself, but to get that part over with.

Friends who came to see us in the hospital wished Elliot a Happy FIRST Father's Day on Saturday.

So is that it? Was Andrew, just like that, forgotten by these people? Because he's dead, does that then mean my wonderful husband did not become a father at conception, or at the very least, in that hospital room, holding his still baby boy? I think his 7lb. 6oz. of weight and pictures would be enough to assume he'd reached his fatherhood milestone already. Before Sunday. I even have Mother's Day and Father's Day cards to show for the two years prior when we were both already a mother and a father. I guess I just don't understand why it's so important for people to throw in the word first.

I was walking to the grocery store with B in the stroller the other day and a woman was speedwalking behind me. Of course she speeds in front and peers in {sometimes I feel like they might just crawl in, they're so nosy}, asking how old B is. She then tells me she'll be a grandmother very soon for the first time as I congratulate her {speedwalking still}. She then asks if B is my first, as if it really matters to the stranger and considering our conversation is coming to an end quite soon... and I told her he was my second. Her response?

Wow! Well aren't you ambitious!

I felt insulted for a few reasons. I'm turning 30 in just a few months. Do I not look fully capable and mature enough to handle birthing two children at this point in my life? I suppose I could take that as a compliment, but anyway. I just hated hearing those words, as if I had a choice and as if having children can really be classified in any way as being ambitious. It almost sounds like we were being careless and just randomly found ourselves knocked up with oops babies multiple times in a row. Because obviously we wouldn't want to have two babies 14 months apart. It quite disgusted me.

Mother's Day was similar, but I guess I sort of avoided it all. I threw away cards that indicated it was my first without much of a glance. Again, why must it be necessary to salt that wound? My husband bought me lovely earrings with B's birthstone and I wore my Andrew jewelry. We went for a nature walk and all I can say is that it was better than last year.

B is starting to sleep more at night-- well at least this week he has. When he doesn't wake after a few hours, I usually wake up in a cold sweat just wondering if he'll wake soon. The monitor tells me he's alive, but somehow I don't believe it. When he finally cries for food, I rush to use the restroom while I take in the sounds I wanted to hear for so long-- that I'm so thankful to hear in my home. I throw up a shout out to God for giving me B to mother and head into his room to kiss him, cuddle him, and feed him. I want desperately to remember what it's like to sleep through the night, but part of me isn't sure I can handle it. It's almost like I need to hear B's cries at some point in the night to remind me he's still alive. 

For now at least, that part of the year is over. At least next year we won't have to hear that dreaded word, first.


Addi's mom said... [Reply to comment]

Twice Brian was wished a Happy FIRST Father's Day on dreaded FB and twice I responded to each. You ae right, why do people feel the need to add first?!? It makes me feel even more that people dismiss Addi and believe she doesn't count and nothing makes me see red more than that...I'm actually still stewing about it. Ugh. Yes we love these babies in our arms, but the ones who aren't are loved just as much. No one dared to say it to me...lucky for them they get to live another day ;)

I don't trust the monitor either, love to hear those cries. I just soak them in sometimes letting him cry just a bit longer so I can relish them.

There is always something isn't there?!?

Caroline said... [Reply to comment]

Last year when I was pregnant with Finn my own MIL sent me a mother day card for the "mommy to be" .... Really lady?!

Anonymous said... [Reply to comment]

I think people really like to wish happy mothers and fathers days to people - I know I've said it to perfect strangers without questioning in my mind if this is their first baby, their first born, their first living child, etc. Having gone through infertility for 2.5 years before becoming pregnant with our son, I was so excited to have a FIRST mother's day. Not everyone knows what you (a BLM mom), or I (an IF mom), have been through and they're just trying to spread joy. I agree that your friends on FB, etc. should know better - but the truth is - they just don't. I learned this with infertility - that unless people have been through what you've been through - they just don't know what to say or how to act. My own mother told me the other day that she hopes we can have another baby so that our son doesn't turn out to be a spoiled only child. AS IF WE HAVE A CHOICE! What I've come to realize is that most times, people are just trying to be nice or fill an awkward silence.

And the comment about you being ambitious - there are people who space their kids 14, 15 months apart on purpose - and that is ambitious. She probably just didn't know what to say and was genuinely impressed with your ability to build a family so quickly. My sister has kids 17 months apart and gets these types of comments ALL THE TIME. No matter what your family situation, someone is always counting your kids (in my sister's case), making a comment, giving unsolicited advice, making assumptions, etc. I've accepted it as part of motherhood!

Melissa said... [Reply to comment]

We received a Mommy-to-be comment this year. That was like getting punched in the gut. As if last year, after I buried my daughter I was not her mother, as if a living child constitutes the right to celebrate the day. I imagine I would feel much the same, relieved to no longer have to hear "first" anymore.

I can see my neurosis for having a living child growing by the day. A fixation to have a living child, scared of the moments when she does not kick... scared for the moments already for when she does not cry. I know I will only have higher anxiety as the pregnancy progresses. I know one day I will be just like you, lying in wait to hear her cry and being ever so thankful for the opportunity to be her Mom.

Kelly said... [Reply to comment]

I'm sorry this happened to you. It reminds me of all the times people have asked Natalie if she likes being a big sister or of all the big sister cards she got. She was already a big sister. Those cards and comments really irritate me. I feel they are unneccessary because it feels like Adam's existence doesn't matter to others now that Lydia is here.

I also have fits of panic if Lydia sleeps too long. It's wonderful, but I certainly worry about her, wondering why she is sleeping, is she getting enough to eat, is she breathing. It's exhausting.

katie illingworth said... [Reply to comment]

I could have written this post, Brandy.

It's amazing how it seems like the fact that they died means they never existed to so many. Friends of ours who attended our daughter's funeral mass last year wished my husband a happy first father's day at church on Sunday. Never ceases to amaze me.

AlliFerg said... [Reply to comment]

I think I just wished E a happy Father's Day on Saturday (no first or hopefully not?!).
Although she was a jerk in 20 years, when you look 40 and you're 50, you'll be grateful Mrs. Speedy thought you were 22 ;)

LookItsJessica said... [Reply to comment]

You are speaking my language here. I feel similarly when people remark or make comments about me being "so young!" and automatically assuming that Avery was an accident baby. I don't think 25 is *that* young to have a baby but I think what irritates me the most is the insinuation that we're young, careless, and almost like they're thinking that we have "so much to learn" or something. They have no idea the pain and suffering we all went through to finally bring a baby home with us and how we feel about 10 years older than we really are.

Cold sweating when the baby doesn't wake up for awhile? Same here.

Brooke said... [Reply to comment]

Sigh. I guess we will still be dealing with this next year. I get that people might not know what to say, but they could sure as hell leave the "first" out of it. Or put it in a different order... It might have been Elliot's first happy father's day...