It's been a long week.
Honestly, it's been a long year. Not to say that it hasn't been a wonderful year, and I certainly wouldn't change it for the world. But it certainly has been a long year.
My son is 13 months old today. And when I think about how much he has grown and changed in those short 13 months, I am amazed. I mean, that's what babies do, of course, but seeing him day to day, the changes are so fluid that they're practically unnoticable until I think back on where he was at 3 months ago, 6 months ago, 1 year ago...
And things certainly haven't always gone as my husband and I had expected them to go. Last August, we had prepared to take home a little boy who would be exclusively breastfed until solids were introduced, who would sleep in a bassinet in our room, and who peed on us at least several times a week.
In actuality, none of those things happened, I'm afraid to say.
Since day one, my son has greatly preferred bedsharing/co-sleeping, and refused to sleep in his bassinet. My husband had some hit or miss luck in getting him to nap in his crib during the day after I had returned to work two months post partum, but even that luck quickly faded. Today, we have his convertible crib serving as a sidecar to our queen-sized bed. Once he's asleep, he'll often roll himself into the crib space, but he still refused to nap in the playpen or any sort of fully enclosed space that would make it possible for me or my husband to feel comfortable leaving him sleeping in the room alone, since the bed is still a bit too high and he isn't consitently climbing down off it feet first. Which is fine. This makes him happy and comfortable, and honestly, the fact that we need to be in the room right now until we get him consistently climbing off the bed feet first encourages us to have enforced downtime, when I would usually be trying to clean, or be mindlessly waiting time playing Civilization on the computer, or FrontierVille on Facebook.
We also have rarely gotten peed on. In 13 months, he's got a great track record for peeing through his cloth diapers as soon as I've finished pinning them and just before I've gotten the waterproof liner on, so no one gets soaked, but I can see that he's wet, and so I sigh and start over again while he wiggles in about 20 directions, tired of lying still. He did manage to pee on my husband immedately after being born (I'll share that one later), but I think I've only been on the wrong end twice.
And, I'm sad to say, that we didn't get to exclusively breastfeed until solids were introduced. This story will probably get a post all on its own, but needless to say, it was discovered that my son had an infection, Serratia, which was most likely acquired during our post-partum stay in the hospital. His health had an impact on my milk production, since he wasn't feeding as actively as he should have been. Fortunately, my son suffered no long term effects from the infection, and only had to receive antibiotics orally for 14 days. My milk supply, on the other hand, had suffered tremendously. I had been advised not to do any pumping for the first few weeks, and since my son was underfeeding, I wound up with an undersupply. Unfortunately, this was before I'd really heard of the concept of milk-sharing, such as Human Milk for Human Babies. All I knew about getting human milk for my son aside from what I could produce was that there were milk banks, but that these could be expensive, and generally required a prescription. And so, with a heavy heart and feeling that I had failed my son, we started to supplement with formula (my feelings on this particular decision is something else that could probably take up an entirely separate entry, so I will save that for later).
I think of all the stresses I have gone through this past year, between my son's weight gain and health to the medical follow ups he's needed as a result, from the feelings of failure that I've had, to the fact that my husband and I hardly see each other during the week because we have rotating schedules to avoid the need for daycare. When I focus on those, there are very brief moments that I want to sob and wonder why anyone would decide to put themselves through so much stress.
And there are moments like this morning, when my son starts climbing all over me 30-60 minutes before the alarm goes off (these days I wonder why I keep it set at all aside from sparing me from checking the clock), and I roll over and just see that grin. Just this absolutely amazing "I'm so impressed with myself, didn't you hear me turn the mobile on? Didn't you see me giving my stuffed dog kisses? Did you notice that I was able to vault over you, mommy???" grin.
And then everything is okay with the world and I realize that I would take all those stressors and more, just so long as I can keep seeing that face every morning when I wake up, and every evening when we go to bed.