fat thursday

by now, i’ve lost my rose colored glasses when it comes to doctors.  i know they can’t fix everything.  i know they don’t know everything.  and i sure as hell know they don’t dictate the choices that i will make for my family.  the good ones know these things as well.  the bad ones don’t and try to exercise the authority that they think the initials after their names gives them.  um no.

so little chunkadunk, maxine. we took her to the geneticist today.  said geneticist was already on my crap list for not having gotten back to me for almost six weeks after she said she would.  separate issue, regarding evelyn.  perhaps this geneticist did not appreciate the fact that i complained to evelyn’s medical social worker about her utter unresponsiveness.  but i digress.

maxine had an appointment to rule out overgrowth disorders today.  i assure you that i was not at the geneticist to seek advice about infant breastfeeding or infant nutrition.  she ruled out the potential genetic issue for which i am majorly relieved; although, part of me wondered if she hadn’t ruled that out before she even saw us.  the questions did not center around genetics.  in fact, they were almost entirely about maxine’s feeding schedules.  i, certainly, understand that these questions had a very legitimate place in our consultation. however, some attention should have been given to her actual field of expertise.  GENETICS.

she, apparently, wanted to demonstrate how very little she knows about the subjects on which she preached.  having, obviously paid no attention to my answers, she proceeded to tell me that my exclusively breastfed child was obese.  her answer?  wean the seven month old baby and start her on solids instead.  anyone that knows anything about breastfeeding, this is like telling an overweight adult to replace salads with cheesecake to lose weight.  and wean a seven month old?   credibility lost.

how dare i argue with a doctor, right?  that’s what she thought too.  mothers that aren’t doctors cannot be educated and well informed. certainly, they shouldn’t be so brazen as to defy a god doctor with a differing opinion.  oddly, the doctor could not back up her opinions with evidence and the mama could. how about that?  but that mattered…NOT.  i should bow to her alleged anecdotal evidence.  sorry to say, doc, “because i said so” stopped working on me about 25 years ago.

as much as i enjoy being borderline accused of abusing my child by breastfeeding on demand as my instinct and solid medical evidence indicate i should, i’m taking the medical records for both of my children and moving them to dartmouth.  dartmouth.  where i hope that the doctors will either have a clue about breastfeeding or be smart enough to shut it.

after all this, i was so frustrated that i cried.    as mamas, we are judged, questioned, and criticized for following our instincts and nurturing our children in a way that feels right.  it is no wonder that women have trouble establishing and maintaining a successful breastfeeding relationship in this country.  i was so thankful to have a la leche league leader as a friend to call.  it is so lovely to be lifted up by a fellow mama…as only another mama, fighting the good fight, can.

baby love

maxine.  i’ve been feeling guilty for not having the words to blog how your arrival touched my life.  i realize that i don’t have them yet because it takes a long time to process something so profoundly wonderful.  they will come, but it will take time for me to wrap my brain around my heart was instantly swollen with love for you.

you are 7 months old.  your smile.  it disarms me.  i forget myself even after all these months.

you want to be close to mama always.  i know it won’t always be this way and i will miss you when you start to explore your world without me.  but right now i can hold you close.

you love to nurse.  and i love to look down at you in hopes that you will take a moment to pop off and flash me a milky smile as you do sometimes.

everything feels so right when i bury my lips in your delicious cheeks.

you’re a silly baby.  so happy.  i want to keep you this way, as you are right now, always.  but i don’t want to miss out on any of your tomorrows either.

know that i love you with my entire soul.  when i look at you my heart giggles and i feel love surge through my veins as if a damn burst.  and keeps on bursting.  those are my love explosions for you, my little bubble.

unthinkable question

you know how when something really wonderful happens, no matter how hard you try, you can’t explain how really truly wonderful it was to people who weren’t there?  horror is inexplicably the same.  that day, i took a deep breath as if to scream and i was so scared that i couldn’t let it out.  maybe i did, but i don’t remember.

evie was crying non stop.  something didn’t feel right.  she was breathing rapidly.  a nervous call to the pediatrician’s office left me feeling foolish for counting.  foolish new mommy.  “you have better things to do with your time than count your baby’s breaths.”

was it days or weeks later?  i don’t remember.  i insisted on bringing evelyn in to the pediatrician.  the nurse, maybe the same one that i spoke to on the phone, put a heart monitor on evies toe.  i saw the numbers jump all over.  she tried to dismiss it and tell me it was fine.  but it wasn’t.  i knew it wasn’t.  i would not allow my instincts to be brushed aside.  i could feel my voice rising, cracking.  but i was heard.

evelyn’s heart was racing over 200 beats per minute.  my mother was with me.  who drove to the hospital?  i don’t remember.  it doesn’t really matter.  my husband met us there.  the cardiologist, she didn’t seem that worked up.  i allowed myself to relax for a moment.  just a moment.  as they glided the probe over evelyn’s tiny chest, i saw the nervous glances that were exchanged.

emergency room.  i don’t remember how we got there.  but we were there and there were so many people in the room.  20? 30?  i don’t know.  this was bad.  i knew this was so bad.  a social worker came over to speak with me.  i don’t remember what she said.  but this was bad enough that i needed a social worker?  oh my god, i can’t do this.

the doctor taped my four week old baby to the table.  he taped my baby to the table.  i think the table was metal.  she was screaming.  she was screaming so loudly that there would be a long excruciating silence before the blood curdling screech.  and that is what was happening.  my blood was curdling in my veins as they poked unsuccessfully at evie’s tiny veins.

my arms were aching to hold my baby.  to comfort her.  i think it was hours.  i could be wrong.  they finally got the line started.  they started blasting medicine into her veins.  the numbers on the cardiac monitor fluttered and returned to 200+.  they were all shaking their heads.  the cardiologist was on the phone with another cardiologist.

we were sent upstairs to the intensive care unit and told that she needed to have cardioversion.  they wanted to put my baby to sleep and restart her heart?  how does a mother even make a decision about this?  google was not an option.  this was one of those leap of faith moments.  i put the life of my tiny daughter in someone else’s hands.

i don’t know how much time elapsed.  my dad was there.  i had so many questions.  actually, i had one question.  but for the life of me, i was too afraid of the answer to ask it.  so i wondered.  and i watched the same question in the eyes of my husband, in the eyes of my mother, in the eyes of my father.  none of us asked.  i really don’t remember much of anything except the answer to the question.  …cardioversion successful…evelyn okay.

when you have to ask that unthinkable question about your child.  even if it is just in your head and you never say it out loud, something changes.  your lungs never completely fill with air.  you’re too afraid to totally exhale.  your heart beats a little bit differently.  butterflies are always nearby to jump into the pit of your stomach and beat their furious wings.

this isn’t everything.  i can’t give you everything.  this is what i can give you right now.  from that day.  the day i thought the unthinkable question.

all of it.  unimaginable.  only now, i could imagine.

speaking of explosions…

today, i was caught totally off guard when i opened maxine’s diaper.  it was one of those massive, mustard colored, breastfed baby poops that cover the entire surface of the diaper.  the kind that leaves me temporarily paralyzed not knowing where to start or what to do.  i call them” grey poopon everything”.  maxine, being a girl of ample size…she has rolls everywhere.  and somehow, some way, that poop finds its way into her every nook and cranny.

maxine is always enormously proud of the mess that she has made.  she flashes that giant gummy smile that makes me forget that i have managed to get shit all over my hands.  these poops inevitably lead to an impromptu hose down in the kitchen sink.  and still, when i haul my chunky monkey out of the sink and lay her down to clothe her, i inevitably find traces of poop on her person.

poop explosions, just one of the ways my children amaze and thrill me.

the beginning and before that

i was born on June 29, 2006.  i was alive before that but i don’t really remember myself.  so this life, the one i’m living right now, started when my daughter evelyn was placed in my arms.  it started when she latched onto my breast and began to suck–as if to suck my old life out and replenish it with something new.  something much, much better.

what happened before my birth is peripherally important, i suppose.  some might object to me defining myself only as a mama.   but that’s the truth.  my beautiful truth.  every moment of my past life was a moment spent waiting for my children.  i mistook my reckless restlessness for something else.  i didn’t know i was waiting for my life to begin.

when i was born i felt the instant sting of naked vulnerability as i held my tiny reason for living tight.  this could all be taken from me and i would have nothing.  i would be nothing.  i was, i am only a mama.  almost as terrifying, i could be taken and who would protect my little creature?

she could, she would destroy me.  it sounds awful.  but slowly the sharp angles of my raw emotion began to soften as i allowed myself to feel the joyful love that was propelling my fear.  the love.  it plunged deep and penetrated my soul.  it ran parallel…and perpendicular to the terror.  and i knew that these emotions would  live in conflicted harmony for the rest of my life.

as i hungrily drank in every inch of my child, i began to experience the love explosions.  love explosions.  the fluttery, shivery, tingly feeling that i get when there is so much love that it clogs the veins of my essence.  and then, all at once, it gushes forward and overwhelms me and shakes me to my core.  love explosions.