Archive for the ‘Baby’ Category
I was watching my baby son sleep, and I noticed him making “nursing motions” with his mouth. He was obviously dreaming. It made me wonder…
Our little one, at 12 days old: http://www.rebeccadanzenbaker.com/newborns
What do babies dream of?
Blue animals with cotton candy clouds,
A world where darkness never shrouds,
An endless supply of tasty milk,
Diapers made only of silk,
Forever snuggling in their mothers’ arms,
Acres of petting zoos and rolling farms,
Soaring as airplanes in their fathers’ hands,
Someday traveling to foreign lands,
A never-ending game of peekaboo,
An ever-lasting supply of teethers and toys to chew,
Myriad stuffed animals who cuddle and talk back,
Never having to worry if they are “on track,”
Someday growing up,
Finally learning to drink from a cup,
Conversing with another baby?
Connecting with others, maybe?
Perhaps, instead, their dreams are not images, but feelings,
And much more important than our everyday dealings.
Comfort, security, and peace.
Love, and the space to just… release.
Maybe this is what babies dream of.
My son, at about three and a half months old.
When I was pregnant, I prepared for my baby in all of the obvious ways (setting up the nursery, making sure we had appropriate baby supplies, reading baby books, etc.). I learned that newborns (as in, age 0-3 months) can be incredibly trying at times. Here’s a list of those ways I found that it can make newborn babies “difficult to love.”
1. They need to be fed every 2-4 hours, around the clock. This makes you exhausted, short-tempered, and moody.
2. They’re not as interactive as four-month-old infants are. Dr. Karp in “Happiest Baby on the Block” reminds us of the huge difference between a four-day-old and a four-month-old. Brand new babies don’t yet have the ability to turn their heads, smile back at you, or coo. Their eyes can’t see beyond a couple of feet in front them, so their eyes can’t yet follow you through a room.
This lack of feedback can make it seem as though your baby doesn’t love you back. Believe me, they do! They just haven’t developed enough to show you yet.
3. Newborns can be “ugly.” They still have the look of a fetus, not the round cheeked, soft glow of an infant. Dr. Harvey Karp calls this the “fourth trimester” in his book, The Happiest Baby on the Block (which I highly recommend). On page 9, he even refers to newborns as “creatures.” An added bonus: newborns often have acne, rashes, and peeling skin. As I learned of this, I mentally prepared to have an “ugly” baby with a face only a mama would love!
Now, please don’t get me wrong here. Babies are beautiful. But we have all seen commercials or TV shows with a gorgeous “newborn,” born with rosy cheeks and a big smile. Plus, we’ve seen those images of a beautiful mother in a perfect house holding her baby in her arms, peacefully feeding him or her a bottle, giving a knowing smile as her little drifts off to sleep. Sigh. Life is much more messy, frantic, and exhausting than this. And in turn more wonderful.
4. Some newborns cry A LOT. When I was pregnant, a friend of mine told me that her baby cried the entire first four months of her life. My friend said she tried everything to soothe her baby, and NOTHING worked. When she offered to give us a few baby items, I asked, “Are you sure you’re not going to have any more kids?”
“NO!” she answered. It was such a strong response that it stayed with me. At the time, it rattled me a bit. Now, I can look back on it with a half smile, because now I know.
5. Your relationship with your partner will probably shift to the back burner for a while. And this can make you feel isolated and angry.
Our baby is now four months old, and my husband and I are just beginning to talk about date nights again, and carving out time for ourselves as a couple.
As you can imagine, after learning all of this, I mentally prepared for the birth of my son. I steeled myself for the possibility that the first three or four months of my son’s life would be awful for us. I gave myself pep talks, and told my future self to just “hang in there, you’ll get through it.”
What I wasn’t prepared for, however, was just how much of a joy he was, even in those early months.
He loved to be held. He wanted to be near us all the time. Not only that, it was wonderful to see him grow and change each day. Each week, he looked so different from the week before. Seeing him smile (and not just sleep grins) for the first time was wonderful. Now, at four months old, he smiles at us every morning, and many times throughout the day also. My love for him has grown as I’ve gotten to know him.
In my tired haze, recovering from a c-section, I was able to still enjoy those early months with my son. It’s time with him that really goes by too quickly. I love him with all of my heart.
Man, does my life look different nowadays.
A year and a half ago, I married my husband. I instantly became stepmother to my now 12-year-old stepson. In February 2016, I gave birth to my son. I’ve been on maternity leave since. Next month, I’ll be leaving the Navy (and transitioning into the Reserves). So, I went from being a naval officer to a stay-at-home mom in a couple of years’ time.
A friend asked me how I like staying home with the baby. To which I replied, “Sometimes I feel like I’m going out of my mind, but I’m really glad I won’t miss any milestones.” (I love my son dearly, but he doesn’t talk.) My new life feels strange sometimes. Some days it feels like I’ll be going back to work soon, and other days I just don’t know what to do next. Play with the baby? Clean the house? Meet a friend for lunch? Write in my blog? I’ve never had this much say (or lack of structure) in my own time before. And it feels weird.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s exactly what I wanted. But that doesn’t make it any less of an adjustment. When people ask me what I do, I still say, “I’m in the Navy” (which is technically true until the end of next month). Which leads to a discussion about going back to work.
I’m not sure exactly why I want others to know I’m a naval officer. Maybe it’s because I’m proud of my accomplishment. Or because it took some time and effort to become one. Or because I dedicated 12 years of my life to being one. And it seems as though I’m dismissing that effort just in how I answer one question.
I can’t seem to stay, “I stay home with my son” as my first (and only) answer. Being a mother is much harder, and more rewarding, than my career in the Navy has been. There is also no set hours, time off, breaks, or holidays. I should be proud of “just” being a stay at home mom. Yet I feel the need to elaborate.
Maybe as I settle into this new role, I’ll answer the question of “What do you do?” a bit better. Until then, maybe I’ll learn not to care so much about what other people think.
My husband and I are expecting our first baby together (due in about two weeks-eek!), and we are super excited.
Earlier in my pregnancy, my husband and I were in the mall one day, and we happened to see a Buy Buy Baby. We thought, “let’s just go in and check it out.” Well, as soon as we walked in, I looked around at all of the baby stuff, and it felt like it went on for miles. Clothes, diapers, furniture, bath items, toys, gadgets… Every spare inch of the store was covered, and my, were those walls high! I immediately felt overwhelmed. I almost cried. In fact, I believe there were a couple of tears.
I thought to myself, all of this stuff exists just for babies?! How in the world are we ever going to get ready in time? How am I going to decide what we need to have versus what would just be nice to have? Are we going to have enough room in our two-bedroom apartment? And, finally, how are we going to be able to afford all of this stuff?
We walked around the nursery displays, which were oh-so-cute, but expensive. Finally, we left, and I felt… defeated. I realized I had my work cut out for me.
In the days and weeks that followed, well-intended friends and family started asking questions like, “Have you finished your registry for your baby shower?” or “Is your nursery all ready?” Baby websites I had signed up for sent daily emails with seemingly never-ending To Do lists.
I turned to Google. I looked up just what the baby really needed. I found Lucie’s List, which turned out to be a big help. I used the recommendations from Lucie’s List to build our registry. I talked to my husband for his input. Once we made progress on the registry, I began to feel better.
I also searched YouTube for “nursery on a budget.” I was particularly interested in nurseries in small spaces. I watched several videos, and I liked this one and this one. Seeing those videos made me think, “I can do this.” I also built a nursery board on Pinterest to start collecting ideas.
Over time, we received a lot of baby gifts from friends and family. We also received barely used items from friends with toddlers, happy to be rid of some of the baby stuff that was now cluttering their homes. Because of this generosity, my husband and I found that we didn’t have to spend nearly as much money as I thought we did.
Over time, we slowly built our baby stuff inventory. For a while, we stored it in the spare bedroom. Then we transformed it into the nursery.
Sometimes, I ask my husband, “What did people do before all of this baby stuff was invented?” I mean, do people really need all of this stuff?
Is anyone else out there feeling overwhelmed by the sheer amount of baby supplies out there? What did you do that helped?
Our Little Announcement
I’m 15 weeks pregnant and my expected delivery date is 29 January 2016. My husband and I are super excited! I’ve been meaning to write a post announcing our pregnancy for a while now. However, in my first trimester (from just shy of six weeks onward), I felt pretty miserable most of the time. Nausea. Acid Reflux. Fatigue. Ugh. Even the sight of food made me feel sick.
Now those symptoms appear to be waning. My food aversions aren’t quite as strong too.
Believe it or not, back in the spring, I actually felt myself getting pregnant. Shortly after ovulating, I got a mild cramping I had never felt before. My breasts also became tender, and the tenderness never went away. I was a bit moody too. Plus, my instincts were telling me I was pregnant. I had this strange, subtle feeling I was.
Then, one Monday after I took my Navy physical training test at work, I took one of those early detection pregnancy tests that’s supposed to tell if you’re pregnant several days before your period. It read, in evil, mocking letters, “Not Pregnant.”
I was crushed.
I thought for sure I was pregnant. Not only was I unhappy I wasn’t pregnant, I was upset that my instincts were wrong. When preparing dinner, I opened the fridge and saw the high end bottle of red wine (yes, we keep red wine in the fridge) my friend had given us as a wedding gift. “Well,” I said to myself, “since I’m not pregnant, I might as well enjoy this wine.” I poured myself and my husband, Brett, a glass. It was exquisite. The best glass of wine I had ever had. Between the two of us, we finished the bottle over two nights. We savored each sip.
The following weekend was Memorial Day. Brett and I drove down to North Carolina to spend the weekend with my stepson and in-laws at the beach. Brett and I stayed in Brett’s Aunt’s trailer not far from the water. I carried feminine products with me because I was expecting to get my period while on that trip.
My period never came.
So, on 24 May, Brett and I stopped at CVS and bought (another) pregnancy test. I had mixed emotions about it. My breast tenderness and moodiness hadn’t gone away. But that negative test still lingered in the back of my mind. We brought the test to the trailer and I took it. First off, it took the longest to process of any pregnancy test I had taken before. From the angle I was at, it looked like it was flashing between “Pregnant” and “Not Pregnant.” “How could it torture me like this?! Just put me out of my misery!” I angrily thought to myself.
Then, the test settled on “Pregnant,” but it still had an hourglass next to it. “What the heck?! Does that mean it’s still thinking?” The seconds/minutes I waited seemed to stretch on forever. Finally, the hourglass disappeared, and in it’s place was a weeks estimator. It read “1-2.”
As in, I was 1-2 weeks pregnant!! It turns out the earlier test was a false negative!
“Brett!” I shouted, holding the pregnancy test, as though it were some sort of magic wand. “Brett! Brett!” It took me a few moments to figure out he was outside the trailer. I tried opening the trailer door, but somehow, I couldn’t unlock it. It was as though my brain had stopped working. I kept trying to open the door when Brett walked in through the other door, a sliding glass door.
I walked over to him, my eyes full of hope and joy. “I’m pregnant!” I said, holding up the test as proof I wasn’t making it up.
Brett smiled in that understated way of his (a nice contrast to my usual melodrama), hugged me close, and said “I love you.”
“I love you too,” I told him. A few minutes afterwards, Brett was so excited and loved how happy I was that he started filming me on his cell phone. I think he wanted to capture the moment forever. You can watch it here .
Later, I wrote in my journal:
I can’t believe it. It’s like I’m in the middle of a great dream and don’t want to wake up. I’m so happy. I’ve been wanting to be a mother for a very long time. To find myself here, married to an incredible guy, and expecting a baby… I am beside myself with joy. Sheer joy.