Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Thinking back...

Last Friday a co-worker of mine (granted, he's three hours away in Toronto) became a first-time dad. This morning a friend of mine from college had her second baby. I know a bunch of people (mostly casually) that are pregnant...in fact I just sent some baby registry recommendations to another college friend that I reconnected with on Facebook. All of this baby stuff has had me thinking back, from this time last year when I was just starting to show, all the way through to those crazy first couple months. It's been quite a whirlwind. This time last year I was just starting to experience all of the changes my body was going through, dealing with some of the good and bad of pregnancy. I was still trying to figure out maternity clothes and adjusting to frequent doctor's appointments, enjoying being able to eat more and drink beverages with calories, and doing my best to stay active even if I didn't feel too great sometimes. Through it all, I was still immensely scared of becoming a parent. My Canadian co-worker definitely reminded me of me when he talked about their impending arrival. While he was very excited, he was extremely nervous...you could just hear it in his voice. He'd joke a lot about the nervousness, but you could tell it was real...and I could completely relate. I was always more nervous than excited, right up until the end.

Seeing all of the baby pictures has reminded me yet again how much Jacob has grown and changed. That tiny little baby has grown into a little boy full of laughter and smiles and a bit of a stubborn streak. He's so big and getting more coordinated every day, and it's a far cry from the early days when we just wanted him to do something. I do get a little sad when I see other people's baby pictures from the first few days. I'm still sad that those days we're robbed from us by that darn fluid in Jacob's lungs. I mean, we never got that traditional picture of me looking like crap in the hospital bed, holding my perfectly swaddled baby in his little hat. I think I was too exhausted and knew I looked like crap immediately following the birth to want to bother with a picture (if nothing else, it was 3am by then and I hadn't slept well the night before to begin with--and exhaustion had definitely set in), and then Jacob was only in our room for a few hours before he was whisked off to the special care nursery, and he stayed there for a week. Any pictures we took that first week tended to be a little awkward, with tubes and wires. I didn't get to change his first few diapers, and it took a little while before I could feed him again (after the initial couple attempts right after he was born) because he was getting IV fluids. It was so awkward holding him and changing his diaper when we finally could, because he was hooked up to so many machines. I remember feeling so helpless...that I couldn't make him better, that I couldn't take him home, that I couldn't physically be with him all the time and learn his idiosyncrasies right away. I was watching the show Wipeout the other day--the crazy one on ABC that's based on a Japanese game show--and couldn't help but think back to my nervous breakdown that first week, when I was exhausted from being at the hospital all the time and frustrated by breastfeeding, and how Wipeout premiered on that night and finally made me laugh after a couple hours of crying.

These days life is a little more normal, but it's still hard and I still get nervous whenever I'm facing time alone with Jacob, knowing that I may have to deal with a diaper blowout or a rough bedtime (both of which happened tonight). I'm learning slowly but surely but still have a long way to go. Still, I look forward to having another shot at the newborn phase, knowing all that I know now. That's still a long way down the road, so for now I will just have to enjoy everyone else's babies :)

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