Growing Pains

Growing Pains

I keep telling myself that I’m going to be more consistent, that I’m going to do a better job at keeping up with this… and then I fail miserably. It sucks, because this is just such a perfect way to encapsulate everything that’s going on in a moment or a period of time–my thoughts, feelings, and experiences. Sigh. At least I try.

Evangeline is nearly 19 months old and I’m left wondering where time went.

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She is an absolute chatterbox now with new words almost every day. She says “umbrella” alongside silly things like “dog-dog” instead of just plain old dog. It’s fun getting to know the little habits and ticks she’s developing as we watch her personality grow and come into its own.

She’s quick-tempered, stubborn, and willful; yet also compassionate, passionate, curious, and deeply observant. We struggle sometimes with bad behaviors she picks up from daycare, but at her core, she is a fantastic little girl. Watching her grow up is going to be like watching a storm build and gather all of its might. Much like a storm unleashing its will upon the world, so will Evangeline when she is finally cut loose.

IMG_3673 I feel like this time we have with her is desperately fleeting, that she is a force to be reckoned with and that this fierce independence she already has will only grow and blossom as time moves forward. She will leave, most assuredly, and she will endeavor in whatever it is she decides to do.

It’s an emotional thing and I’m fiercely protective of her because of it. Like any flame, it can be snuffed out or diverted, turned from a triumphant, glorious bonfire in the night to a burning inferno swallowing everything in its path. She will face her own hardships and some of those will come from within her, but they will not be the same ones that I faced, this is promise both her and myself.

It’s hard to be a parent, but it’s significantly more difficult when you struggle with your “own stuff”… and I mean that in that your brain isn’t wired correctly or you’ve suffered traumas that make it difficult for you to pretend that you’re normal. I try and try, but I know that it’s a lie and that someday, she will see through the facade. I just hope that when she does, she’s prepared for it.

Even though my family is toxic, we’ve been trying to ensure that she is aware of most–if not all–of her family members. My mother, of course, is currently excluded because she is untrustworthy and exceptionally manipulative in that way that narcissists tend to be… but the rest, they are safe enough… for now.

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Before we visited them on Memorial Day, we went to the Relay for Life. It was a small affair this time, as they decided to schedule it much earlier than the usual June date. It was in May and in a small auditorium because of rain. That’s what happens when you move the date. The event itself was a bit of a mess, but our baby girl got to walk with her daddy, who is a thirty year survivor of leukemia and that’s honestly all that mattered. She also danced with her grandpa. She had a lot of fun… before coming down with Hand, Foot, and Mouth disease.

That was an event. Poor thing was so sick! But she recovered quickly and though my sick time at work suffered, she’s much better now.

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We’re all excited for summer and for everything that it entails–backyard shenanigans, swimming, grilling out… but it’s a slow process. The weather is pretty crazy right now and Evangeline’s suddenly not so sure about water that’s not warm like a bath tub!

It kind of sucked that we were away during Memorial Day weekend, as it was beautiful and perfect here… but we stayed with my dad and his wife this time and that was a lot of fun. Certainly a lot less stressful. He’s on his antibiotic IV for his assumed osteomyelitis so that wasn’t great but it certainly brought a smile to his face to spend time with Evangeline!

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We grilled out, he spent mornings playing with her while I got to sleep in, and everything on that end went perfectly. We had a lot of fun there and I look forward to staying with them again. They even bought Evangeline a swing set, which she absolutely adored! Her favorite part was the seesaw.

Unfortunately, the other side of my family was bitter and accusatory. We surprised my grandparents because we didn’t want them to know we were coming and tell my mother. We were not there five seconds and they were jumping on me about my mum and saying some pretty hurtful and mean things… all in front of their great-granddaughter. She was mostly ignored while they read me the riot act in how I was ‘treating’ my mother. I felt trapped and annoyed, but I stuck to it. My husband saw my grandmother’s ability to be downright hateful for the first time. We only stayed about an hour before leaving.

When we visited the next day, my mum ‘unexpectedly’ came in and walked over and hugged me. I did not hug her back. I barely spoke to her. My grandparents nodded and smiled, convinced everything was back to normal while my husband boiled with anger on the opposite side of the room. We dealt with my mother, who was convinced the same as my grandparents. She even had the nerve to corner me and say that ‘this’ wasn’t helping her and some other bullshit I blocked out. We got out of there and did not go back, not even to say goodbye.

I’m honestly not sure if I’ll ever go back. Kind of a bleak thought. I might never see my grandparents house again until they’re dead.

It’s a difficult time for me right now. I’ll write happier things later.

Toddler Life

Toddler Life

Having a toddler is ROUGH! Like, really, really hard. Everyone always talks about the “terrible two’s”, but it seems as if the moment that Evangeline turned one, her toddler switch flipped and my sweet baby went bye-bye. The attitude has been building and she’s definitely testing just about every single boundary she can realize at this age, perhaps even a bit above. It’s exhausting.

I have only myself to blame. I am infamously stubborn–beyond the realm of rationality and practicality. I once sat in my room for eight straight hours without leaving to pee or anything else because my dad gave me an ultimatum. He said I had to pick up my room and that I couldn’t leave it until I did, so I didn’t. I didn’t pick up my room and I did not leave it. I remember him finally coming in and being so completely frustrated. He hadn’t asked me to do anything herculean. It was a simple chore–pick up! I didn’t even have to really clean, just sort some things and make it not look like some sort of a hoarder’s hovel. He broke down and let me leave, completely torn down by my willpower.

It’s strong and Eva’s definitely got it. I’m stubborn enough to match her but I get so frustrated when it is over the dumbest of things. I can’t really see this improving with age for either one of us, sigh.

She took her first steps and she’s saying some words now, though not reliably. She’s said “Daddy’ and “Momma” for awhile, but now she can say her own version of “kitty” (KI-TUH or KI-KI). She also says “hi” and “bye”, which is hilarious, because he “bye” is completely dismissive. She is so my daughter…

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We recently had a pretty epic snowstorm, though the snow is nearly gone now. It lasted maybe three days? We got around eighteen inches, which is significant anywhere else, but a freaking miracle here! We never get this much snow. Evangeline wasn’t really impressed with it. She didn’t have a snowsuit, so her initial introduction was very limited. When we did buy her one, she cried like we were torturing her. When we put her in the snow, she cried even worse! So not impressed.

It’s so hard to truly fathom that she’s not a baby anymore. I’ve had a few calls to reality–in Target, browsing the baby clothes, and realizing none of them are her size anymore. Going through the aisle with the bottles. Ugh. The babies side of Toys’r’us! No one wants to see me blubbering in the middle of an aisle.

We’re preparing to go to a memorial for my husband’s maternal grandpa this weekend. He passed about two weeks ago. He’s had Alzheimer’s for years and had finally pretty much forgotten everyone. All he would talk about was death and how he just wished to die. Very sad. My husband is putting together a slideshow for the memorial, so we’ll be working on that soon, I’m sure.

My mother is very likely drinking again. She’s acting completely freaking nuts. It’s been a downhill slide for awhile now, but I think she finally fell… again. It’s so annoying. Anyone who has dealt with an addict can relate. Even so, my mum never took the proper steps of recovery, thinking herself above it. She’s convinced herself now that, despite having a damn tube in her liver, that she doesn’t have cirrhosis and she’s not an alcoholic, she just has a “fatty liver.” I can’t even stand it anymore. I’m just done. I don’t have any confirmation yet but even so, done. Over it. Just whatever. I lost my actual mum a long time ago.

We’ve booked our flights to Tampa, which is super exciting. We leave in around two weeks! I’ve never been to visit my family there, so I’m both super nervous and scared. Packing is going to be a nightmare and the airport is going to suck because we won’t have the in-laws with us. We’ll be there nearly a week! It’s like another vacation, haha. We’re staying with my dad’s dad and his wife. I can’t call him “grandpa”… it’s too weird. I never really knew him as that. I’m just excited for Evangeline to meet them. We’ll also get to see a lot of my Aunt and that will be great.

I had other stuff to write, but it’s slipped my mind currently. Everything is just moving so fast. I never have time anymore to just sit and reflect, sigh. I have nearly completed Evangeline’s first year album, though. Yay!

A New Routine

A New Routine

Dropping Evangeline off at daycare the first day was hard. I won’t lie, I cried. I’m not big on crying in front of people, but letting my sweet baby go and walking away was just heart wrenching. I whimpered and cried all the way to work. Once at work, I was okay… but I was constantly thinking about her and counting down the hours. I was just so worried about how she was doing. I didn’t realize it, but the husband was worried, too.

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The night before, I drank almost an entire bottle of wine! I helped me relax and just cry when I needed to, which was frequently. I had some wine and a cry in the tub. I cried on the couch. I cried while trying to zone out and play Dragon Age: Inquisition. I woke up with Eva at around 4am and then couldn’t go back to sleep!

Today was easier. She screamed and slept a lot the first day, but today she mostly just hung out, took the proper amount of bottles, and didn’t have any freak outs. Of course, when we pick her up, I run to get her. The husband gives me this pouty look and wants to hold her, too, so I have to hand her off, haha. Boo to sharing!

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We had a cuddle and a short nap tonight, which was nice. The husband pouted at me that I needed to go wake her up because he didn’t feel like he got enough time with her!

The evenings are a little rough. I want to spend every second she’s awake with her, but there’s stuff to do, too. I have to wash and clean her bottles, try and get them ready. Doing it in the morning is just entirely too hectic! I try not to focus on the fact that I’m only seeing her for around four hours a day… sigh.

Being back at work is kind of nice, though. I missed my coworkers and I feel ‘human’ again… more than just a milk cow. I loved spending time with Eva, but it definitely helps me to feel like I’m a person, too. I’ll never send her to daycare when I don’t have to, though. I’d much rather have her with me! The husband said he can’t wait for the weekend, haha. Me either, I want to actually sleep and I know we’ll get long, snuggly naps together.

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We had a bit of a scare tonight. Eva had a dirty diaper and as I was cleaning her up, I noticed blood on the wipe and nearly lost it! It was fresh blood, too… not the kind they poop out. I checked and the area around her little butt hole was red and little pinpricks of blood were coming to the surface. My mum and the mother-in-law assured me that she’s okay and that it happens, it’s likely a diaper rash of some sort. Still worries me. We’ve been so lucky in avoiding any of that yet!

I very nearly lost it when I saw that blood, though. My heart jumped. My stomach felt sick for an hour afterwards. Poor little thing was fussy and we just assumed she was tired… we had no idea she was in pain! I felt like an asshole.

The house looks like a bomb went off, but I just can’t be bothered to clean tonight. I’m exhausted. Eva woke up at around 5am this morning and would not go back down… so I’m pretty beat. I think I’ll be dragging hardcore by the end of the week!

So far, pumping is going okay at work and I’m keeping up. I bought these things called Freemies and they are really handy for work! Eva’s also back to breastfeeding without fussing or pushing away (mostly); I did have to walk around and nurse her once today, just before dinner.

Disappointment & Failure

I feel like a complete and utter failure. Evangeline’s original two month appointment was on Monday, but was rescheduled last minute due to her doctor being ill. I managed to get an appointment first thing on Wednesday morning. We went in with high hopes–we were excited to see how much she’s grown and to get her immunizations. We didn’t wish her the pain, but being able to have her around others and out without constant worry would be nice!

Unfortunately, things did not go as planned. I’d expected to see that Eva wasn’t quite where she needed to be with her weight; I’d known she’d lost some weight during my cold and taking sudafed. My supply had dwindled, forcing me to attach myself to the pump. I consumed water like mad, I eat oatmeal every morning now, and a wonderful coworker/friend made me lactation cookies. We’re back on track, but it was touch-and-go there for a few days.

It seems like Eva’s progress never recovered. She’s only 10 lbs or so when she should be at the very least 12 and at the very best, 14 lbs! They measure and weight first thing, and then we sit and wait for the pediatrician to come in. The husband looked them up on the charts and gave me a worried look. Her weight put her in the bottom percentile, while her height put her in the top. I felt sick.

The pediatrician was kind, but didn’t mask her concern. We’ve been given a month to try and continue on with just exclusive breastfeeding. I’m to eat full meals and make sure Eva is getting the hindmilk and not just the foremilk. I’m pumping after every feed and then offering her the hindmilk that’s expressed. It’s all very daunting and yesterday, after we arrived home, I cried. I cried over her while I was trying to get her to nurse. The husband had left to go to work. It was just such a crushing blow. I thought she’d been doing better–she was going two hour stretches between feeds! But she still wasn’t napping properly. And she hasn’t been pooping regularly–once a week on the dot. All of it should have been warning signs.

But I was too selfish to see them or listen. I was too preoccupied with having time to myself or getting things done around the house. I’d stop her nursing when she got frustrated instead of switching her to the other breast or bothering to burp her thoroughly and then returning her to the breast. It all came crashing down on me suddenly and I felt completely sick with myself.

I crawled into bed around 12:30, as Eva had drifted off due to her immunizations. She was too sleepy to nurse properly. She woke just as I pulled up the covers and began cooing. I peeked over the bed at her in her little convertible bouncer and she smiled at me. I pulled her into bed with me and nursed her there. We cycled between nursing and sleep for a good four hours. I couldn’t bring myself to leave the bed and she would wake up screaming–a side effect of the immunizations. I’m sure she had no idea why she was uncomfortable. She was spiking low-grade fevers, too. So I curled around her and kept her close to me, checking her temperature and soothing her. I’m not into medicating unless absolutely necessary.

We did eventually give her infant Tylenol more towards the evening, but only because her fever went to 100 degrees. We didn’t get out of bed until the husband came home. I was still upset, but the time sleeping and just holding her helped me try and formulate a game plan. The husband kept assuring me that it would be okay. He’s my only support with breastfeeding and I certainly appreciate it.

I’m pumping after every feed and when she naps; I’ve got milk in 1 to 2 oz increments in bottles to supplement her with if she stops nursing early. I’m feeding her until she gets angry at me for trying. She’s already bodily shoved my boob away and all but swatted away the bottle. She pooped a day early, which is a good sign. We’re making sure her belly is full and Buddha-like. It’s going to be a pain pumping so much, but whatever works. My freezer stash I started is going to build slowly, but contributing 2 oz or so a day is still better than nothing!

We’ve got a month to get her caught up. She’s already doing better today and napping unlike she ever has, which means she’s satiated. She’d wake up constantly and fuss before. Now if she wakes up at 30 mins, she drifts immediately back off. It’s also not hard to get her to fall asleep.

I hate having to use bottles, as we ran into an issue where she didn’t like the slow flow of my boobs… but whatever gets her weight up. She’s still getting 90% boob.

I bought a baby scale off Amazon. It’ll be here Saturday. I refuse to accept “failure to thrive.” When I told the husband that’s what it was called, he was shocked. Needless to say, neither one of us is on board with that being declared. I want to make it at least six months (preferably a year or never!) before introducing any sort of formula. Here’s hoping we can do it.

I hate that I let this happen. It makes me angry, but luckily, anger is usually what fuels me forward. I’m determined to make this right and keep it as such. My personal time and such things are secondary to my child’s well-being. She’ll throw fits because I’m feeding her too much before she’s ever hungry again.

Adjusting…

Adjusting...

Honestly… the first few days were easy. Eva slept a lot and nursed. She didn’t really fuss at all until we had to put her in the car seat to go to the pediatrician. They found a heart murmur and we got scheduled to go to the hospital for some tests.

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From then on, it’s been rocky. She doesn’t like to sleep. She wants to stay up way longer than any newborn should, which results in her getting overtired and fussy. She will fight sleep tooth and nail. There were several difficult and lonely nights coupled with recovery pain. My daft hospital thought it fit to prescribe me oxycodone! Like hell I’m going to take that while I’m breastfeeding.

Having the husband home was a help, but not terribly. I mean, it was nice to have him here and to get me water and to try and do things for me… but my husband is notorious for not doing a damn thing unless you explicitly ask him and “nagging” at him really doesn’t do anything but put him in a mood. I wish he had done more. It’s not like I even made him stay up! He slept every single night through in the bed while I’m out in the living room with Eva.

We had an incident when the husband was home. Unfortunately, it happened on a day where I had gotten zero sleep in quite a long span of time, so I was already at my wit’s end. I was annoyed with him just lying about while the house was a wreck and the dirty clothes were piling up, so I asked him to do the laundry. He sort of got an attitude, but he went to do it. I even made him a chart and hung it up in the laundry room.

Well, he goes to do it and then I hear this loud noise and him cursing. He let the cat in there unsupervised and he brought down the entire shelf above the washer and dryer, sending things flying. There was bleach everywhere. I set Eva down and ran to see what happened, worried he’d hurt himself. I was angry when I realized what happened. As I tend to do, when something doesn’t go right, I do it myself. So I hurriedly gathered the colors and threw them into the washer, not realizing he’d been dumb enough to open the washer and send bleach spilling into it after the incident. So I got bleach on a bunch of our clothes.

I had a mini-anger meltdown after that. It’s the first time he’s seen me like that. He spent the rest of the evening trying to wash clothes in very cold water in the bathtub in an attempt to prevent the bleach from setting in. It was a disastrous day. I haven’t asked him do laundry since. Instead of apologizing or anything, he moped around instead and just said, “why wasn’t the shelf secured?”

Sigh. I try not to get too angry or annoyed with him, as I know I’m battling with hormones, sleep deprivation, and just frustration… but it’s hard. I don’t feel like he’s completely “stepping up.” As with everything else, I feel like he’s doing the minimal amount to get by and hoping no one notices. I want to play video games and relax, too, but I don’t have that option.

I hate tearing into him, though. He does do things, it isn’t all bad. It’s just easier to focus on what he’s not doing it. And it’s not for lack of me asking or telling him, either. I feel like I’ve done everything to be accommodating but I’m not getting any of it in return… which is pretty normal for all of my relationships, sigh.

Adjusting to this is rough, like adjusting to pregnancy was. I don’t miss being pregnant, not at all. I can’t really enjoy not being pregnant, though. Newborns are rough and I got one that does not like to sleep. It makes it harder. She has reflux, too, which is not fun to deal with at all. Then there’s my constant anxiety that my entire body is ruined. I still haven’t looked at my stitches or how I’m healing down there. I’m terrified. I never want to look. I don’t even want to know. I seriously burst into tears any time I think about it. I can’t even talk about my boobs or stomach. I’ve lost 30 or more pounds and my stomach is almost back to being normal, except the skin. I’m so scared all of this is permanent and it’s awful.

I know a lot of it is hormones, but it’s still hard. I just keep trying to look at the positives. I don’t have Post Partum Depression–I don’t want to hurt my baby or myself. It’s just “growing pains”, trying to adjust to this whole different life while also being forced to deal with hormones. It’s tough. And it’s lonely. Nights are the worst–I hate nights. I cried a few times when the husband would go to bed. I feel completely separated from him. I miss going to bed. I miss being around him or being close to him. That’s one of the worst parts–we’ve always been incredibly close and this new “space” between us is just really hard for me to deal with right now.

It will get better. These are just the starting months. If it didn’t get better, people wouldn’t have children.

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When the husband is present and engaged with Eva, my heart swells. It’s beautiful to see. I know it’s hard sometimes to “attach” to newborns, but I’m hoping he does as she grows. He told me that he thinks she hates him, because he can’t soothe her or feed her. I have him bottle feeding her, but he complains that she doesn’t fall asleep on him like she does me. I’ve tried to tell him she honestly only likes me because I’m a source of food. Right now, that’s all I am. He has the chance to be more and is quite capable of soothing her (better than me) when he actually tries.

I’ll just be happy when I can sleep in my bed and sleep for longer stretches than thirty minutes to an hour. That will be glorious…

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Until then, I just have to keep looking at her sweet little face. Soon, she’ll be big. She’s already growing. Some day, I’ll want this time back.