Tag Archives: babies

Things That Should Be Easy, But Are Actually Not

For Babies:

1)  Sucking on a pacifier: somehow, the darned thing never manages to stay where it should. Perhaps Sam sucks too aggressively, or perhaps gravity interferes yet again. Or maybe the problem is related to #2

2) Not punching himself in the face: we’re really looking forward to the day when Sam realizes that his hands are his hands and he can control their movements

3) Discerning the difference between the real source of milk and impostors: Sam is a determined little fellow and will spend upwards of five minutes trying to procure dinner from his fists or shirt sleeves before acknowledging his mistake.

4) Pooping: You’d think it would come naturally, considering how many diapers he fills, but the process is always accompanied by a red face and sounds of pain and distress

For Moms:

1) Remembering stuff: it’s not just that I forget where I put my keys—I also forget important events from the recent past (no, we don’t need to schedule the break repair: we got the brakes fixed LAST week) and tasks to be done in the present. Making a list helps a little, but I often forget to look at the list

2) Finishing the laundry: I can never seem to get one load folded and put away before the basket is filling up with more dirty clothes.

3) Looking presentable: Seriously–nothing fits. My maternity pants are drooping and my regular pants refuse to adapt to my new hip configuration. Maternity shirts hide the remainder of the belly, but I am so tired of the maternity clothes! Is it acceptable to wear sweatshirts for the next 3 months?

4) Putting the baby down: We get a lot of quality bonding time as it is, but I still have trouble setting Sam down in his cradle or his little chair while I do other things. He likes being held and I like holding him…that’s okay, right?

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Keeping Track

I dream in math and babies.

I don’t know if other new moms have experienced this phenomenon, but for the past week, my infrequent sleep has been plagued with fuzzy calculations that never quite seem to work out:  How many hours since the last feeding? How long has Sam been sleeping? How many days until the cord stub falls off? How many minutes was he nursing on the right? Or was it the left? How many diapers? Math is a nightmare for me anyway (half of my college decision was based on the fact that I wouldn’t be required to take any college-level math classes), but isn’t it enough to deal with it when I’m awake?

One of the reasons that numbers have figured so prominently in the care of my newborn is that he’s had some minor health problems that have required overnight monitoring of his blood oxygen saturation level. Long story short: it’s an altitude thing. Little Sam is hooked up to an oxygen tank all night and for much of the day. Our goal is to get him 90% or more saturated for 88% or more of the time. It makes for a lot of numbers to consider and considering them intelligently in the stupor of late-night feedings has proven difficult.

So in hopes of clearing my head of fuzzy math for the day, here’s a numerical breakdown of life with a baby:

11: Days of Sam’s young life.

7: Days of Sam’s young life that have included time in the hospital or trips to the doctor’s office

27: Minutes it took us to go from being against pacifier usage to coaxing one into Sam’s wimpering mouth

2.5: Hours is the longest that Sam has slept in one stretch in the night

13: Average number of diapers Sam goes through in a day.

5: Different phone numbers we have for the medical supply company that brings the oxygen and monitors

15: Approximate number of meals my wonderful mother left in our freezer.

3: Times I was peed on before I learned to factor in a wait time for diaper changing.

132: Hours spent marveling at Sam’s every squeak and yawn

1: Hand used to type all this while holding Sam in the other.

 

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Introducing Sam

As you may have deduced, our troublesome tenant finally took his leave.

It’s my great pleasure to introduce the newest member of our family, Samuel Philip Good.

 

Baby Sam

He was born at 9:28pm on Tuesday, March 22nd 2011, weighing in at precisely 7 pounds and measuring 20 inches.

We came home from the hospital late on Thursday evening and have been gradually adjusting to Sam’s internal clock. My parents made it to the hospital just in time for the birth and Mom has been taking care of us ever since. I’ll do a more extensive write up of the birth experience and, of course, the myriad wonders of motherhood, a little later on. But for those curious about how Zach and I (finally) decided on a name, here is the rational:

Samuel: Hannah’s first-born, devoted to God, a prophet to kings;  one of John Steinbeck’s most beloved characters in his excellent novel East of Eden; the endearing nickname Sam evokes the loyalty and stout-hearted Samwise Gamgee, Frodo’s devoted companion in Lord of the Rings; finally, the darling little face of our beautiful son just LOOKS like a Sam.

Philip: in honor of Zach’s father, Philip Ernest Good, a generous-hearted and loving man who passed away in 2005; St. Philip Neri, Zach’s patron saint, Italian priest of the 13th century and founder of the oratory movement (also the patron saint of Bl. John Henry Newman); Sts. Philip the Apostle and Philip the Evangelist.

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Patience is a Virtue… just not one of mine

This is not due to a personality flaw or a natural moral weakness: I have intentionally avoided this specific fruit of the Spirit for most of my life.

“Never pray for patience,” my father cautioned me, “because there’s only one way God gives it.” That way, of course, is to put you into situations that try your patience until you grow some. Even as a child, this bit of spiritual wisdom made plenty of sense to me, all intended humor or irony aside, and I’ve generally followed his advice. (My father also taught me to save twenty percent of my income and budget at least four hundred dollars a month: I’m not sure why it was the facetious counsel that stuck. Sorry, Dad.)

Now I find myself in the uncomfortable position of being 5 days past my Doctor-Declared Due Date, with 5 more days to go until my NFP-Determined Due Date. If I was right all along, then this baby is doing just fine. If my doctor was right, he’s almost a week late. (But my thinking on the matter is that if the doctor had been correct, I would have a son right now instead of a watermelon-belly.) Either way, the IDEA of being due on the 15th sunk in a little farther than I should have let it and I find myself feeling strangely discontent…or, I suppose you could say impatient.

But don’t you dare start praying for patience now! I don’t want to be waiting until April, you know. In the meantime, though, all manner of distractions are welcome. My husband and I have kept our whole spring break free to accommodate this child: how shall we spend our final days of youth and freedom?

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Perspective

I’ve been fortunate to spend my pregnancy in a community that’s very supportive of our decision to start a family. With the exception of a few irritated glances from people who may or may not have been victims of an accidental belly bump as I wrangled my six-month-stomach down the narrow aisle of a plane, I have not been subject to any discrimination, harassment, or abuse. No one has accused me of single-handedly over-populating the world. And though I’ve been overly sensitive to the “Wow-you-look-ready-to-pop!” comments, no one has actually made any untoward remarks about the physical changes I’ve experienced during the process.

Instead, I have been showered with encouragement, empathy, and gifts for the little one. My boss (who is a mother herself) has put absolutely no pressure on me to make a decision about returning to work next year. My friends have listened sympathetically to my litany of woes (the kicking! the swelling! the exhaustion!) and have managed to compliment my figure with a straight face. Or, you know, at least my hair cut. My parents have made plans to drive out here all the way from St. Louis, to take care of us and just be here to welcome the baby when he comes. Dad is even building a bassinet for him.

And my husband: where do I begin? He has endured over 15 hours of birthing classes where words like “perineum” and “amniotic fluid” are mentioned about 5 times a minute…and he’s taken notes! Just to make sure that he can be as supportive as possible during labor. Instead of making fun of me when I burst into irrational tears, he kisses me and offers to indulge my every craving or whim. He’s actually excited about trying the whole cloth diapers things. And, most importantly, he’s even more eager than I am for the baby to actually be here.

I remember how freaked out I was when I first looked at that pregnancy test…and by the time I took the test, I already pretty much knew (thanks, NFP). That confirmation, though, was terrifying: I didn’t feel ready at all. But, with time and prayer and the reassurance of mothers who have gone before, I’ve become accustomed to the idea of being a mother. And, of course, I’m terribly curious to meet the tiny creature who has been tucking his feet under my ribs for the past few months.

It’s hard to imagine what this year would have been like if no one else had been excited with me, if no one else thought that having a baby was a good idea. I’ve always been adamantly pro-life in principle, but I don’t think I realized how much support I would need to carry my own child.

I came across this article earlier today: Ask an Abortion Provider (warning: explicit language). It’s basically a young woman’s defense of her choice to abort her baby and her aspiration to become an abortion provider. Her tone attempts a weird form of jocularity, but ends up sounding, not surprisingly, defensive and militant. And the “warm fuzzy” moments she’s experienced during her training fall rather flat as she celebrates the success of the procedures she’s performed.

She sees herself as courageous for daring to enter a profession so fraught with danger (from pro-life activists) and so laden with stigmas (from pro-life culture). And that she has plenty of examples (death threats, verbal harassment, people egging the family planning building) to add some legitimacy to her self-victimization is definitely discouraging.

Frankly, the article is kind of obnoxious and I don’t recommend you spend time reading it (or getting involved in fights in the comment box, for that matter). I just bring it up here as a point of contrast: I wonder how differently this woman’s life would have turned out if her loved ones had been able to celebrate her pregnancy and her baby instead of celebrating her independence. Yes, she’s responsible for her own choices and yes, I think she’s making poor ones. But, ironically enough, after experiencing pregnancy, I’m no longer able to see her as an independent agent.

She is a victim, but not in the way she thinks. She’s the victim of a pro-choice culture that did not support her life-giving potential and denied her baby a loving, welcoming community.  Her failure is our own.

***

I’ve always loved this Lauryn Hill song, but I appreciate its simultaneous struggle and celebration even more now.

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