Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Lady of the Dance

Watch out, Michael Flatley!  You have some serious competition...  Not even six months old and already mastering Irish step-dancing (okay, that's totally Mommy hubris).

We have found something that sister loves to do.  Sister gotta dance!  Which makes Mommy VERY VERY happy.  I can see the Friday night dance parties already!

Finn isn't even six months old and I'm already analyzing some of the regrets and the delights that I have with her first six (15, if we count my pregnancy) months.  None of the regrets are enough to make me feel guilty.  There are a couple that I really wish that I could go back and change, but most of them are seen as the lessons that I've already learned to make myself a better mother.  I'm going to pepper my regrets with delights so this post isn't a Debbie Downer.

I have two ginormous regrets -- both of these I wish that I could go back and have a second go at it -- getting it right the second time. 

The first big regret that I have is that I didn't document my pregnancy.  Not with photos nor with writing about it.  The only thing I have documenting my pregnancy is three photos (one at six, seven, and nine months).  I also have two photos of myself in a liquor aisle taken by E's phone as he thought it highly entertaining to see a pregnant lady in the liquor aisle.  So if any of you out there have any pregnant photos of me, I would be beyond "over-the-moon" to have them.  And the only documentation in writing form that I have is an Excel spreadsheet that I recorded my doctor's appt with fetal HR, weight and the important milestones (such as ultrasounds and first movements for both myself and for E).  I wish that I would have written how it felt to have her moving or complaining about not sleeping.  At six months, I'm already beginning to forget the one of the best period of my life.

I delight in my little girl every day! I love seeing how much she has grown in the last 23 weeks.  I'm so happy that I did finally start to whip out my camera. And I am so grateful for this blog as a place to document my feelings for her to see later. Recently, I had went back and read over the first few posts and remembered things that I would have forgotten if I hadn't posted it here. I am also delighted in the fact that I realized the important use of my iPhone. I have at least 200 photos and videos on there -- those photos & videos are just as important as the ones taken with the good camera and the good video recorder.

And my other big regret is that I wish that my labor lasted longer.  Yes, you can go back and re-read that -- you did read it correctly the first time.  Looking back on our labor and delivery, I felt disconnected through the whole process and the final hours of my pregnancy went by too quickly.  I wasn't fully prepared for the labor that I had.  I prepared myself for 48 hours of uncomfortable labor, not six quick hours.  Unbeknowst to the naive first-time mom, I was in labor for 24 hours -- just the first 18 hours weren't uncomfortable.  My contractions were so mild that while at work I could speak with patients without them knowing I was contracting and was even sitting in a restaurant a little over an hour before showing up at the hospital 9 cm dilated.  My hard contractions came on so fast that I didn't have time to register that it was truly happening.  (In fact, I was laying in bed, contracting every 2 minute and still told E that it wasn't time to go to the hospital because I didn't want to be turned away.  Oh, the power of disbelief...)  I wasn't prepared when she came out in four pushes.  I regret that my first words to her were "I just had a baby...  I just had a baby..." instead of "Happy birthday, little Finn!"

I delight in the fact that I stuck out the whole breastfeeding thing. I don't think that ever shared my breastfeeding story on here in detail. But the long and short of it is that she latched on improperly in the L&D room, the Peds nurse gave me a nipple shield and all my postpartum nurses strictly forbid me to use it. The lactation consultant didn't show up until 36 hours after her birth (they are supposed to show up in the first 12) and she had already cluster fed for 3 hours by that point. So I left the hospital raw and in pain. The pain was so severe that by day 4-5, I was bawling in pain during her latch-on. I quit breastfeeding and started pumping. And after 3 weeks, I realized that I was doing way more work than I needed to -- so we transitioned back to breastfeeding and haven't looked back since. I do regret that I took away feedings from E, but only a little bit. Breastfeeding her after the initial pain has been one of the biggest joys.

I regret not becoming Mama Bear and feeling the intense love immediately.  Oh, I loved her alright, but it was hard for me to believe that she was here, in my arms, instead of in my tummy.  I don't feel like I relished in those newborn snuggles -- I fell uncontrollably hard weeks in but it took time (due in part to PPD).  And part of that stems from the fact that she was the first newborn I had held in 20 years (plus or minus).  Whenever I was around others' babies, I never had the urge to hold them.  In fact, I didn't want to hold them and would refuse if someone offered up their baby.  I just wasn't comfortable.  Now -- Mama Bear searches for littles and I love snuggling with the teeny babies.  I know that she isn't going to remember that it took weeks for me to realize she was the best thing to ever happen to me, but I know.

I delight in the fact that I quickly outgrew the whole "she-has-to-roll-over-by-this-date" or "she-has-to-grab-onto-things-by-this-date".  I started out reading week by week updates on what she should be doing developmentally.  It started to stress me out if she wasn't doing something that she was "supposed to be".  I realized that she is going to do what she wants when she wants and that I should just sit back and enjoy the ride.  Watching her grow and learn things is one of the most amazing things.  If she is anything like her mama, she is doing to do it her way and on her own terms.

I regret not documenting her first couple of weeks with the vengeance that I currently document her life.  I think the reasoning stems from above.  But also, I feel like I don't quite think I was comfortable with my little at that point.  I do have some newborn photos (and E did forget to bring my camera to the hospital, but I didn't ask him to bring it back with him when he went home to take care of the dogs), but I have to say that E was my saving grace.  That man had out his phone from the start and snapping away.  All of our first photos are photos that he took, not me.  I'll forever be grateful that he was in the right frame of mind to at least snap some camera photos.

So, we truly have a twinkle toes on our hands.  I can't wait for ballet classes!  (I'm sure if E is reading this, he is groaning already...)  Last night, Grammy was trying to figure out which type of music Finn likes to "dance" to.  She tried Lady Gaga & Katy Perry without much luck.  I walked in the house from after work with "Single Ladies" jamming from the computer.  Lady was rocking out as a single lady!  But do you want to know where her heart truly lies?  Much to E's chagrin, her heart lies on a gravel road wearing blue jeans.  I put on my two favorites -- "Take a Back Road" by Rodney Atkins and "Barefoot Blue Jean Night" by Jake Owen.  Sister started sparkling!  She is gonna be a country girl at heart...

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