Friday, 30 September 2011

My first lesson in parenting

As mentioned in my intro post, I had warm and fuzzy visions of myself blogging from the beginning of my baby's life, talking about all the ups and downs of new motherhood while he napped happily in his crib for 3 hours at a time. I would be sipping a cappuccino in my spotless kitchen and tapping away on my laptop with beautifully manicured nails... Ahem, sorry, daydreaming again. Needless to say, that hasn't happened yet!

However, in my last long and boring weeks of pregnancy, I did start writing, so I may as well share the one and only blog post I wrote during that time. Here it is... enjoy and feel free to laugh at me. I know I'm laughing at myself today! Shoulda known that would have been my last full night of sleep - be careful what you wish for!

February 11, 2011 - My First Lesson in Parenting

As I write this, I’m 41 weeks pregnant… a full week past my baby’s due date, and just one of a majority of women who learn the hard way that 75% of babies make their way into the world late.

As a general rule, I’m a very organized and always punctual person. I almost hate myself for always obnoxiously arriving everywhere early – even when I try to be fashionably late, I can only manage to get there five minutes late. I don’t do it on purpose; I was just wired that way. Possibly, it has something to do with my own birth, which was scheduled early on September 28th, very reasonably so that I would be accepted into school right before the deadline of October 1st.

I’m not just perpetually early; I’m also compulsively efficient and like to get things done quickly. There is a reason for that – I hate the feeling of letting a task or responsibility go unfinished for too long, because it will inevitably fall to the bottom of the priority list and either never get done or will be done in a half-arsed way. All that means is that I would disappoint the person who is waiting for me to deliver whatever it is that needs to be done. Do I have issues? Yes. Am I type A? Absolutely.

Despite my need for speed, control and punctuality, I’m still a pretty reasonable person and I get that things just don’t always happen as planned. So when I got pregnant, I spent a significant amount of time preparing myself mentally for the fact that many, many things would be out of control. Will I be a slave to a tiny infant? Yup. Will my house be a mess and my laundry basket ever-overflowing? Definitely. Can I handle it? With a few deep breaths and a supportive husband, yes, I assured myself that I could handle it.
I even knew that most babies go past their due date. In fact, I kind of hoped that I would have a nice, drama-free, scheduled induction, so I could arrive at the hospital, stress-free and ready to give birth at a pre-determined date and time. What I didn’t know is that my hospital insists on waiting 11 days past the due date to induce babies.

I stopped working two weeks before my due date for a number of reasons. I wanted a clean break from work, time to rest, to mentally check out from the office and get any last-minute stuff done before baby’s arrival. I also wanted to give myself a buffer, in case the baby should somehow decide to arrive early.

Week one was a breeze – I kept busy, wrote thank you notes for all the lovely baby presents I’d received, visited my parents, and just tried to enjoy my last little bit of freedom. The second week was a bit longer… my house had never been cleaner, every scrap of laundry done, the freezer full of home-cooked meals for post-baby arrival. So I napped and started baking. I reasoned that surely we would have many visitors the following week (when baby was here) and wouldn’t it be nice to serve home-made biscotti with coffee? I would dazzle friends and family with my domestic prowess and my well-rested, cool, calm and collected approach to new motherhood! Bonus!

When week two passed and my due date came and went, my doctor informed me that we would schedule an induction no earlier than February 16th. What!? Why so late? Why not anytime after the due date? She responded it was hospital policy, limiting what they call “social inductions,” wanting the baby to come on its own, blah, blah, blah…

“Believe me,” she said, obviously having heard it all before. “If I could schedule all my patients to deliver at a convenient time, my life would be a lot less crazy.”

Heavy with disappointment, I delivered the news to my husband and began doing everything possible to try to induce labour. Raspberry leaf tea, scrubbing floors, Chinese food, etc… nothing worked. Every morning for the past week, I’ve glared at my packed suitcase which has stared back mockingly from its spot by the door. I started regretting leaving work so early. When I complained to my parents, my father laughed at me.

You’ve just learned the first and most important lesson in parenting,” he told me. “You’re not in charge anymore – your child is.”

I realized that he was right and added my own two cents: patience is a virtue. Because, really, in the grand scheme of things, what will a few extra days change in my life? So what if I have to answer a zillion well-meaning e-mails, phone calls and Facebook wall postings saying “Nope, no baby yet!”

When my little guy finally makes his appearance, I will probably appreciate this time and laugh at myself for being so impatient. After all, there are so many more important things to worry about. And I should be thanking my lucky stars that he’s not premature and will be a big, beautiful, healthy baby. Who knows, maybe he’ll teach me not to be such a stickler for punctuality either.

As a final note, it turned out this extra time was a really good thing, because on my due date, I came down with the worst cold I’ve ever had! I’m talking the kind of cold that keeps you in bed, coughing, sneezing and generally wanting to die. Since pregnant women can’t self-medicate with those delightfully effective cold medications, I just had to suck it up and rest it off. It was a small comfort to me to know that baby was in no rush to leave my womb while I was feeling so miserable. The last thing I’d want is to sneeze all over my newborn!

But now the cold is gone, a week has passed and I simply have to tell myself that, at the most, I only have to wait four or five more days for my baby. And then I will embark on the adventure of a lifetime – motherhood. Hold on tight, it’s gonna be a wild ride!

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Another blog is born…

Hello blogosphere! They say a new blog is born every half second. I’m willing to bet a significant chunk of those blogs are the ever-popular mommy blogs. Why? Because, as I’ve learned in the almost eight months since my son was born, moms seem to be resourceful, community-minded women who rally together to learn from one another, share their experiences and relate to each other. Or at least the ones I’ve seen online are.

In the long, sleepless days and nights of my baby’s newborn life, I certainly found comfort in reading mommy blogs. It was soothing to read about other women having similar experiences with everything from breastfeeding to colic to diaper rashes to first smiles, first laughs and first steps. I wasn’t alone in the world at 3 am as I struggled to get my baby to nurse, watching bad late-night television and surfing the web on my iPad. The internet became my lifeline.

So now it’s my turn to start blogging. I’m a writer by training and trade, a professional communicator, so why not? Plus, I’ve been told on Facebook that people found my baby anecdotes amusing. I figured this would be a great place to capture my experience as a first-time mom, while maybe providing the same support to others that I found in the mommy blog world. And if no one reads this, I will at least feel like I found a place to get all the unwritten thoughts out of my head!

Truth be told, if I could have I would have started doing this much earlier. When I was pregnant, I naively thought I’d have a lovely, quiet baby who would take long naps and I could fill all my new spare time with writing. Ha! My son quickly proved himself to be against that idea.

He is not, and has never been, a good sleeper. His naps are never more than 30 minutes each. Thirty minutes! That hardly gives me enough time to go pee and brush my teeth, let alone write a blog! And the nights… well, let’s not go there just yet but suffice it to say that I haven’t slept a full night in a long time. So it’s taken me awhile to get to this point, but you’ll hear all about that in future posts. I’ll be talking about all kinds of new mommy issues, funny stories and sharing my experiences as I navigate the waters of motherhood.

In the meantime, I’m thrilled to be the newest mommy blogger in town and can’t wait to see if anyone actually reads this. I certainly hope so!