Just Us Girls

Just Us Girls

...one SMC's adventures in single motherhood.

Sunday, February 27, 2011


Amazingly enough...this is the week. K turns one year old this Wednesday! So I have a hunch that I'll be posting a lot this week.

So many changes! Even just over the past couple of days. She is pulling up on absolutely *everything*, and she even made all sorts of progress over the span of just today. We spent most of the day with my extended family, parents included (they're in town for her birthday, for what will be a total of ten days), and wow, was she busy! Walking from hand to hand to hand, all around the room where we were all hanging out, pulling up on sofas, ottoman, legs, seated torsos, you name it. She doesn't crawl, but scoots to beat the band, and that seems to have served her well, so she doesn't seem to see a need for actual crawling. She's been practicing her pulling up, standing, and cruising in her crib in the mornings before I wake up, and she's become SO sturdy! She holds on and walks around with only one hand grasping someone's finger, and her balance is getting better and better. She had a ball today walking from person to person, which is a luxury we don't really get at home since it's just the two of us. Today she even let go once she got close enough to someone to "lunge" at them and reach her destination. This is a kid who has been such a late bloomer in terms of gross motor skills...late to sit up independently, late to army crawl (well, sort of), late to scoot, late to pull up, late to get teeth, late for it all, including no traditional crawling. Which hasn't really bothered me (though it probably sounds like it has, as it reads here), but I HAVE wondered when it all would kick in and come together. Now it's all happening so fast that my head is starting to spin.

As excited as I am to see her grow and change, there's a part of me that wants her to stay little for at least a short while longer. I'm finding myself feeling a little sad because these stages are passing so quickly. She'll never be "learning to walk" like this again. Her top two middle teeth are coming in now, so I have to say goodbye to the charming toothless (and familiar) grin she's had up till now. (Her bottom two have been in for a while, but for whatever reason it's different with the top two. So much more of a "grown-up" smile when you have top teeth, too.) She's truly becoming a different, more grown-up little girl. Exciting, but more than a little bittersweet, too.

I'm still struggling with whether or not to try again this fall. I am tentatively planning to try again for number two in August, September, October, and possibly November, should it come to that. Due to how expensive my first maternity leave was (in my school district, we have to pay for the long-term sub who covers our classes throughout maternity leave), I really want to plan to deliver in May or June and enjoy the summer off with a newborn. But now that I've brought K through her first year relatively unscathed, I'm wondering if I even want to go through it again with another baby. As fun as the first year was, there was also stress and worry, particularly about SIDS, not to mention the potential worry about the delivery itself. I think I just know too much about what could go wrong. And I feel so lucky that K is doing so well these days. Time will tell, I know. I'll just keep gauging my feelings throughout the spring and summer and go from there.

What didn't happen throughout K's first year:
No hospital visits for rotavirus, pneumonia, MRSA, and so on. No hospital visits at all. No stitches, like my cousin's little boy, Robbie, had just prior to his first birthday. No strep. Only one ear infection, as far as I know. No crawling, unfortunately. (I was really looking forward to that.) Transitioning to finger foods has been challenging...she seems quite picky about textures, which has slowed things down a bit. That, and the lack of teeth. Breastfeeding past seven months.

What did happen throughout K's first year:
Great sleep! She's been a fabulous sleeper pretty much since the beginning. She's been sleeping through the night since around four or five months, which has made for a much happier mom. Lots of scooting instead of crawling, which has been that much more entertaining. She has a great daycare, and both of us are very happy with it. Lots of little friends for her, and it's been fun for me to greet them all when I drop her off and pick her up each day. Daycare costs have been manageable for the most part. Lots of snuggling, which I love, especially at bedtime when she has her last bottle and falls asleep in my arms (after I brush her teeth, of course!). She's developed a great sense of humor, which gives me a glimpse into what kind of older kid she's probably going to be. Amazing fine motor skills, which have been there from pretty early on. She's finally taken to her straw sippy cups and figured out how to drink from the straws. We started whole milk just today, and she seems to like it. Breastfeeding and pumping until she was seven months old. Wish it had been longer, but I'm still proud of having done it as long as we did. Napping has been good for the most part, too. K slept in her cosleeper next to my bed until a few weeks ago, when she started pulling up and I decided it was a bit too risky to continue. Lots of good, not too much that was overly challenging.

Things have really gone smoothly over the past year. Everyone talks about how hard the first year is, especially the first several months, but truth be told, it wasn't as hard as I expected it to be. A lot easier than I expected, actually. We found our rhythm early on and just went with it. Things came very naturally, I think, and I enjoyed the heck out of her first year! We really just did what worked best for us. If I had it to do all over again, there really wouldn't be much I'd change. The second year is going to have SO! MANY! CHANGES! and I'm not sure I'm ready for it all, but I'm certainly willing to give it a go. I can't wait till K walks regularly and starts talking, but there's also so much to teach her, too. It's all part of the journey. :)

(This first picture shows the second time K has fallen asleep "folded in half" over her outstretched legs...talk about flexible! I tell her she'll never be that flexible again. I had to take this picture before I helped her straighten out, and she didn't even wake up.)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

On bravery

My cousin just sent me a link to a blog post about the bravery it requires to have a c-section, and my response to her has left me drained...it brought up so many thoughts that have been buried pretty deeply. Perhaps some of the most honest writing I've done in quite a while. Just for the heckuvit, I'm posting it here.

Here is a snippet of her affirmation to me, just so you know what my first paragraph is responding to:

"I know that I tend to make grand statements about birth, and I always seem to second-guess myself after the topic has come up in conversation with you, like it did this past weekend. You already have been on such an incredible journey, from conception of idea to conception of baby, to pregnancy growth and nurturing, to birth, to daily feats of super-mommyhood while juggling work and home. And I am in awe. Truly and honestly. And you should hear that affirmation more often."

My response:

Hi, Jill!
Wow! Thank you for the affirmation...you're right, I never really hear that from anyone. Well, except for occasionally from my mom, and I definitely appreciate it when she does tell me she thinks I'm doing a good job. Counts for a lot.

Thank you as well for the link...though in all honesty, I have mixed feelings about the tone of her post. Of course, we all tend to "hear" words in print through the filters of our own experiences, so I'm sure I'm no exception. Although I suppose my cesarean surgery itself did require some measure of bravery, I have a clear recollection that I did not feel overly panicked or worried when my OB told me that he felt it was best to move towards a c-section...I've seen so many of them on all those silly birth shows I watched. I know, not the same when it's you on the table, but I think it was because I had spent a lot of time considering the possibility and wondering how I'd feel if it came to that. Plus, my doctor was so calm when we talked about it. I definitely knew that my pushing wasn't doing anything, and I was worried that baby girl might end up in distress. Instead, the panic came when he told me that I was going to be put under general anesthesia, and when things started happening at warp speed (particularly the splashing of the betadyne). Wow, I feel like I'm reliving it even as I write this. That's what took extreme bravery, knowing that I was going to sacrifice the precious moments I had so been looking forward to, the moment when she entered the world for the first time and that incredible first cry. I didn't know it at the time, but I would also end up sacrificing much of that first day with her, since I have such foggy memories of it all, especially the first time they put her in my arms. I really wish I could remember that. I would never in a million years consent to another emergency c-section under general anesthesia (unless I absolutely had to, of course), and I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy. A planned c-section with an epidural I would definitely go for, especially if it meant I would actually be conscious for the birth. I really don't think I'd want to have anything but a planned c-section, since anything else, including VBAC and vaginal delivery in general, still carries the risk of things going awry and me having to go under general anesthesia again. I just refuse to risk it. Back to bravery, though, I think what required even more bravery from me ( and still does, on a daily basis) is my decision to become a choice mom in the first place. Some days I can't even believe I've done this to such a precious little girl...choosing to bring her into this world without a father and not knowing how she's going to feel about it in the future. For lack of a better term, I don't want her to feel like a freak, having a donor for a biological father. There are so many unknowns. I'd do anything to avoid hurting her in any way, but sometimes I worry that it's too late for that, I've made my choice and now we both have to live with it. Of course I don't want to frame her story in any kind of negative way, but I'd be lying if I said these thoughts don't cross my mind now and then. Every day I have to be brave enough to forge ahead with the faith and hope that she'll be okay with the unique way she came into the world--so much rides on my ability to explain it to her when she's old enough to start to understand it. I hope I can do justice to her story. To me this far outweighs the bravery it took to get through her delivery...that only lasted a day, and this is going to last her lifetime. Wish me luck, haha. But thank you for the thought-provoking link, and I hope to see you guys again soon!!!

In all honesty, I'm in kind of a dark place tonight, so I'm not surprised that this response feels dark as well. K is still the best accomplishment of my life to date, and I can't imagine living a day without her. I live for the time each day that I get to spend with her, and weekends are absolute bliss. I do wonder how my cousin will respond to what I've written...I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

It's really true.

Once you have a kid, your perspective on dating and relationships changes drastically. For better or for worse, I think perhaps I've become more discriminating...because now there's someone else's welfare to safeguard. I would daresay that I've always been very independent and resistant to depending on anyone, which is especially tough now as a mother because there are (and will be many more) times that I have to depend on someone else's help. But in terms of dating and relationships? Fuhgeddaboudit. I feel like it's almost like, one strike and you're out. Which is exactly how I feel right now.

He's not who I thought he was.

How disappointing. But life goes on.