Monday, October 4, 2010

Expect the unexpected... an introduction of sorts.

If you had asked me two years ago whether I would have a child before I turned 24, I would have laughed and said no way. At that time I was living an... alternative lifestyle. I wasn't looking for love, especially not a boyfriend. But then I took a job that literally changed my fate. Taking the job at the animal shelter is how I met my boyfriend and come December we will be celebrating our two year anniversary.  Our son is almost eight weeks old now. The pregnancy was far from planned, but was one of those things that life throws at you that I just had to make into lemonade. In fact, I hadn't been feeling well and had an upcoming doctor's appointment and I wanted to be able to walk in and say that I had "this and this and this symptom, and this is what I know it is NOT". Except I never got to that part.

DBF and I were out one night and I asked him to humor me on the way home and just swing by the dollar store. He would, but he was also curious as to why I wanted to go to the dollar store at 8pm on a Saturday night. I told him I wanted to pick up a pregnancy test just so I could rule out the possibility. He knew I was late, but didn't realize I was THAT late. He didn't realize I had spent the past two weeks wondering where my period was, wondering if I ought to test and then deciding not to waste the money because surely Aunt Flo would be here tomorrow. But to reassure him, I quoted the logic that dictates that any POAS addict knows to be true that if you obsess over the possibility of being pregnant and go as far as to pee on a stick, than your period will show up within 24 hours. So by 10pm we are back home with two dollar store cheapies in hand. One was for instant gratification and the other was to take first thing the next morning. I had peed so many times already that night and drank so much water that just in case the first test was negative, I could do it properly the next morning. Determined not to completely obsess, I barricaded myself in the bathroom with my phone to time it and a magazine to shove my nose into so I didn't spend 5 minutes slobbering over a plastic stick. Once the deed was done and with magazine in hand, I set if down on the counter and watched it long enough to make sure the urine passed through the whole test and then was going to shove my nose into my magazine for the alloted timeframe. But I didn't even get to that part. As soon as the test passed the point where two lines would be, I definitely without a doubt had TWO PINK LINES. I didn't even get to open my magazine and it was there. DBF took it all in stride and said everything would be fine while I proceeded to panic and get upset because I was terrified. In the end though, DBF was right and my little breakdown was all for naught.

The pregnancy was a whirlwind. I worked part time and otherwise just took things day by day with the weeks occasionally punctuated by doctor's appointments. DBF attended when he could and we were both excited. We didn't seem to have everything completely together until I was actually home from the hospital, but once again, just as DBF said, everything turned out all right. That's the funny thing about him... he's the perfect balance to me. I am high-strung and too often snarky or get fired up over things where he is laid back and my moods don't phase him in the least. We can't actually fight because of those rare occasions I try to pick an argument, he never fights back which only gets me more worked up so I end up going off to grump by myself and get over it. I am eternally grateful for this man and make sure I tell him often how much I love and appreciate him, even when... no, ESPECIALLY when I'm being snarky.

With the arrival of our little "Frog" came many changes. Sometimes I feel like I drew the short straw because with the way life happened, DBF has helped raise three other children and this is my first. He has pretty much raised his two second cousins so has got this parenting thing down already and he also helped care for his nephew. Heck, my pregnancy was pregnancy number two for him. DBF was the one following his nephew's mother every step of the way through her pregnancy from each doctor's appointment to the impromptu McDonald's run for spicy chicken sammiches. Though for the delivery he apparently had to stand in the closet. I promised him that when our time came, I wouldn't make him stand in the closet and proclaimed my undying love every time he came home with a Coke Icee for me. Now I realize I used to take something as simple as going to get an Icee for granted. It used to be make sure I was wearing a shirt, pants, and shoes and hop in the van and run up to the gas station. Now the simple act of going for an Icee means getting the baby and myself ready, buckling him in, going to the gas station, getting him out and dragging him inside to get my Icee, getting him back in the car, going home, getting him out of the car and then settling him down once we got back to our room. What used to be a 15 minute affair from start to finish can now take closer to 40 minutes. But of course, with all the hassle of getting the two of us ready to go out, we might as well just find something to do for the day and enjoy being out since it took all that work to get out of the house in the first place. So packing the diaper bag with some extra fluff and making sure we had extra formula on hand is added to the routine and we spend a good chunk of the day out in town.

Honestly, I've surprised myself with the decisions I've made as to how I'm raising my child and the way I'm doing things. Growing up, I had heard of cloth diapers, but always associated them with "the olden days". I never actually considered using them. I figured you picked between Pampers or Huggies and that's what your baby got. And then there's babywearing. It never even occured to me until I was pregnant that women actually WORE their babies. But these two things, cloth diapering and babywearing, rooted themselves during my pregnancy. The seed was sowed when I came across some cute pictures of each that piqued my interest. Further internet research saw that this interest blossomed into a slobbering obsession. I was determined to cloth diaper my child and, even more fun, I would be one of these babywearing mamas too. DBF just took it all in stride and let me do what I was going to do. He won't wear our son, but thinks it's cute to see the Frog all cozy and content in our sleepy wrap. He is pro-breastfeeding and has been with me step by step as I have struggled to try and EBF our son. I have shed many tears over my inability to keep up with the Frog's demands. I've tried blessed thistle and fenugreek. I pump and pump but rarely get more than half an ounce. I hate having to supplement with formula, but even after nursing for 45 minutes he will screech and cry until we finish filling his baby with artificial nutrition. Recently though, I started taking domperidone and it's helping me to slowly gain an edge and I think I might just with this battle with the can of powder after all! It's been almost two months since I gave birth and I stubbornly refuse to give up!

I do have one small brag that will make many of you ladies jealous. I have one of those amazing cloth diapering daddies and I LOVE it! He will change diapers without the heavy sighs or dragging of feet. He knows all about the wetbag. 99% of my stash is prefolds and covers and he knows how to properly fold a prefold and use a snappi! He doesn't see the joy that I do in changing covers to different colours or our beloved frog-print, but at least he can put them on! He even thinks our lone Rump-a-Roo is a neat diaper and knows that our two pocket diapers are our night time diapers. I can even trust the man with diaper laundry. He now understands why we use the amount of detergent we do and knows to punch that extra rinse. He doesn't have to ask to know I prefer to dry the wetbag, covers and pocket diapers out in the sun. He's truly a gem!

So hear I sit, now nearly 8 weeks postpartum and I reflect on life as a whole. I used to be selfish and did what I wanted on the spur of the moment, but now I have the little one in my life. I still do things that I want to do, but it is almost always around the Frog's schedule. I love our days our going shopping and just meandering around town. Trips to Walmart and places like that always end up being great PR for cloth diapering and babywearing because I always have people stop me and ask about our sleepy wrap. Sometime's it's annoying to stop every few minutes in Walmart to answer questions when I really just want to get in and out, but my smile never falters. If I can help share the joy of babywearing to another mama or mama-to-be, then it's worth the time.

I really don't know anything about being a mom. In fact, I've been totally winging it from day one. No one every old me how to actually change a diaper and I had never done it until I was in the hospital with my newborn son. Babies used to terrify me. They were so small and breakable and I would surely drop it if I held one. It's funny how that changes so quickly. Now I can diaper a baby without batting an eye and handling one is second nature. My secret? I don't actually tell anyone that I have no idea what the hell I'm doing... I just do it. It's been working for me and few people believe this is my first child. I even fooled the lactation consultants in the hospital! Now I just have to see how long I can keep winging it before people catch on!


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