Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Mother's Day, Every Day

There's nothing more rewarding than motherhood. Nothing is more challenging than motherhood either.

I had certain expectations about my pregnancy, labor and delivery.

I was determined to have an easy nine months of incubation, so-to-speak. It never occurred to me that pre-eclampsia and bedrest were in my future. The consistently high blood pressure readings and extremely high proteins in my urine caused my ob/gyn to restrict my activities. To this day I cannot stand to lie down on my left side.

I assumed that labor was going to be horrible. After all, my friends and family told me every horror story imaginable about 40 hours of back labor, as well as tales about constant contractions that could kill a herd of pregnant elephants.

I didn't take Lamaze classes because everyone said it didn't work anyway. I skipped the breastfeeding seminars because my mother insisted it was natural and no class can teach you how to nourish your baby.

As far as my labor went, it was easier than I expected. Eight hours long, only two hours of actual pushing, and my precious son was born.

It was at that moment that I realized he was perfect. He was the reason I went through all the pain that even an epidural couldn't take away completely. My beautiful boy was finally in my arms, his blue-gray eyes looking up at me and his tiny lips parted, waiting for a nipple to be shoved into his mouth.

The stress of trying to nurse combined with a hungry newborn who hadn't a clue how to suck, caused me to believe that my baby was going to die of starvation. I can't count how many times I thought of asking the nurses to give him formula. I wanted to nurse my baby. I started to think that because I didn't take that class about appropriate latch-on, Dawson didn't have the best start. Nor did I. But we soon figured it out and it turns out he grew into a healthy toddler.

When he was just a few days old we learned that Dawson had jaundice. His bilirubin count was higher than acceptable and a "bili-blanket" was soon delivered to our house. Trouble with breastfeeding? Ha! Trying to nurse and keep this lighted blanket on my child at the same time was insane! Not such a good time, let me tell you.

The bilirubin check-ups were worse. Each test required a sample of blood from my baby's foot. Watching his face sour and hearing his screams caused me to feel so horribly guilty. I now know where the mommy-guilt originated.

The day Dawson's navel fell out I panicked. He was only 5 days old. Our pediatrician insisted it would take a week or more and I was so nervous about infection and had nightmares about Dawson's stomach coming out of his bellybutton. Looking back now I can laugh; at the time I was a basket case. My mother-in-law comforted me, thankfully. I'm so glad I had help those first few weeks.

Here we are 2 1/2 years later. Dawson is no longer a baby. He's still my baby, but he doesn't fit in the crook of my arm like he used to. I will never again feel him clutch my finger as he nursed in the middle of the night. He doesn't want to be held all the time like he once did.

It makes the tears well up in my eyes. I'm mourning the days when he was tiny and fully dependent on me, his Mumma.

But I know he has to grow up. I can't stop time. I have to let go, little by little, day after day. There so much to be learned. There's always something new and wonderful to experience with my toddler.

I think I just wanted to hold on to part of the "baby". It's scary to think about Dawson growing up and gaining more independence, more control over his own life, every day.

But that's what a mother goes through. Constantly changing emotions rule my days. I'm a mother. Every day is mother's day for me. Nothing is more rewarding, nor more challenging than motherhood. I can't say it enough. I wonder if my mother ever felt this way.

I should wish her a Happy Mother's Day -- every day.

Dana usually suffers the mommy-guilt over at The Dana Files. She lives in Wisconsin with her hilarious husband, Doug, and their toddler Dawson, 2 1/2. When she isn't blogging she can be found chasing after her Boston Terrier, Murphy, who likes to steal her bras from the laundry basket. You can find Allison at Dana's place today and please visit the Blog Exchange if you'd like to participate and read other entries for this month.


Jenn in Holland said...

Yes! So should we all say Happy Mothers Day every day!
It is a tremendous ride isn't it? And you have summed up some of the tumultuousness perfectly here. Well done. What fun to read you over here at soccer mom's!

Dana J. Tuszke said...

Thanks, Jenn! It's wonderful to meet you! I had a great time here with Allison! She's a doll, isn't she?

I just hope she puts my file folders back to the way they were when she left my place! :) Heh.

soccer mom in denial said...

Actually Dana I stuck a few of the hot pink leopard print file folders in the soccer duffle bag. You don't mind do you?

Seriously, it is amazing how we bond with these kids of ours. And how we figure out what our moms went through. All part of the cycle.

Jodi said...

What is about pre-e and an easy delivery? I had horrible pre-e and was on bed rest, yet had an easy delivery, but also a baby that couldn't nurse. Hmmm-

chelle said...

It amazes me how our expectations during pregnancy rarely match our reality ... Happy Mother's Day! I had Pre-e with my first ... *shudders*

Dana J. Tuszke said...

That Pre-E is a mutha. I pray I never have to go through it again. It sucked royally!

Jodi, we are alike! It really takes a toll, so maybe God decided to make it easier on us during labor and delivery?

Chelle, I can feel that shudder all the way over here! I feel your pain!

Mayberry said...

It's crazy how much I miss and DON'T miss those baby days!

Laura Lohr said...

I had 5 months of bed rest and totally feel your pain. It's all worth it though, isn't it?

Kara said...

great post. thank you.

Jenn said...

I'm still not over how quickly everything is going by - it's a brilliant, wonderful thing but, yes, a little sad all along the way. lovely write :)

Jennifer said...

Great post! I love the blog exchange...all the posts are so beautiful.