Friday, January 13, 2012

Baby G, you terrify me...

From the point of Baby G's conception (most likely on a trip to the zoo in Omaha, Nebraska... sorry, TMI!) up until this exact moment it has been about 20 months. 20 months ago we had no idea we were getting ready to head into the most exciting journey of our lives. 20 months ago we had no idea we would be planning a baby's first birthday party instead of my 31st birthday party. 20 months ago I had no idea what it meant to be truly terrified that something is wrong with your precious baby.

Baby G, you terrify me...

Motherhood has been the most amazing thing I've experienced so far in my life. I've been so lucky to experience highs that make Mt. Everest green with envy. I've also experienced moments of sheer terror where I thought either I had something terribly wrong or the fates were playing the saddest of ballads on my heartstrings. In the last 20 months I have experienced exactly 9 times where I thought my heart would burst free of my chest because of Baby G. Here they are, in chronological order:

1. Fear of miscarriage: Finding out I was pregnant was extremely exciting! My very first thought was, "MUST TELL EVERYONE!!" My very second thought was, "What if I have a miscarriage and I've already told everyone??" We found out when I was about 6 weeks pregnant, which is still in the very real danger zone of losing a pregnancy. I tried my best not to think about the possibilities, which meant going with my first thought of telling everyone, but it was always in the back of my mind. My mind eased after the passing of the first trimester, but when I read singer Lily Allen lost her baby at 6 months gestation, my fears of losing my precious baby girl ignited yet again. I never stopped worrying about losing her until the day she was born, which of course gave me a hundred other reasons to BEGIN worrying about her, but I'm getting ahead of myself...

2. Where is your heartbeat??: When we went in for our first OB/GYN visit I was about 8 weeks along. They actually don't see patients until they are 8 weeks along, which made me sad because I couldn't wait to hear the heartbeat! I felt like it would make it all seem more real if I could hear that little flutter. We waited anxiously in the waiting room surrounded by other mothers-to-be in various stages of pregnancy and soon found ourselves in a room with our OB and her small hand-held heart monitor device. She squirted cold and slimy goop on my belly and set to work trying to hear the heartbeat. She moved the wand this way and that way, up and down, here and there... nothing. My own heart dropped to the floor thinking, "This is it. We've lost the baby." Our OB ordered an ultrasound just to be sure I was actually pregnant with a live baby. I got gooped up again and nervously waited for the technician to find our tiny baby, which of course, she did! We got our first glimpse of our little bundle of joy and she looked like a gummibear! *Sigh of relief*
3. Stupid... so stupid: One of my favorite parts of being pregnant was feeling all of the fluttery movements early in the pregnancy. As Baby G got bigger, those fluttery movements turned into crazy alien-like rolls and kicks, but I still loved feeling all of it because it reminded me of the special parcel I was carrying. I tried being super careful while I was pregnant, as I am naturally a total klutz, not to bump my belly into things or fall or do anything that might jeopardize my kiddo. So, imagine how stupid I felt when, one night while playing Rock Band, I was being over-dramatic about not getting 100% on one of my vocal solos (totally robbed!) and flopped dramatically onto the couch. Looking back, it probably wasn't all that hard of a flop, but for someone who was trying so hard to be careful, it felt like a huge mistake and I instantly regretted doing it. As if to teach me a lesson, Baby G didn't make any movements for well over an hour after I did that. I spent that hour shimmying, shaking, poking, and prodding my belly to get her to move so I wouldn't keep worrying that I'd hurt her. When I finally felt her move, I was elated. No more drama-queen for me.

4. To everything, turn, turn, turn: On my very last OB/GYN appointment, we found out Baby G was STILL head-up in her comfy little womb. She never once went head down. At that appointment we found out she was potentially 9 lbs already and would probably never go head down on her own. For someone who wanted a natural birth (not even an epi!), this was sad news. It meant I would get a C-Section, my worst nightmare. She said we would need to decide right then if we wanted to have Baby G that night before she left for a one-week conference in Mexico and that we could try to turn her for one last shot at a natural birth. We weighed the pros and cons and decided to go for it. I was told there was a chance while turning Baby G that the placenta could tear, which would mean an immediate emergency C-Section so I wouldn't bleed out, but that it was rare. I gave it a shot and OMG worst decision EVER! It was a pain like no other pain and I instantly began to worry that I'd made a decision that could harm Baby G. Once we realized it wouldn't work, we went ahead and decided on the C-Section. I said some quiet apologies to Baby G for putting both of us through that.

5. What are we doing wrong???: On the night we brought Baby G home from the hospital we were sure that we knew what we were doing. Baby G had been SO good in the hospital and things were easy-peasy lemon-squeezy! We had the feeding schedule down, we were on top of diaper changes, Baby G would fall asleep nearly everywhere at anytime so that wasn't an issue. Then, later in the night things took a nose dive! Baby G wouldn't stop screaming no matter what we tried! She screamed and screamed and screamed until we figured something just HAD to be wrong with her! The volley of phone calls made during those tense hours taught my husband and I one very important lesson. "You're on your own, folks!" The hospital wouldn't help, the on-call Dr. at her office had no real suggestions other than, "babies can cry for a really long time sometimes." We were at our wits-end! Finally, one of us suggested we try to feed her more. We had been so indoctrinated into the hospital's feeding schedule that it seemed almost sacrilegious to go against it. Bingo! That was the problem. Baby G scarfed that bottle down like we'd never fed her. I was so terrified that something was wrong with her when all she wanted was some sustenance. Clearly, I had a lot to learn.

6. "Here, total stranger, take the most important thing in my life.": I had one month at home with Baby G before I had to head back to work. I was ready to go back, actually. *dodges all of the rotten tomatoes thrown her way* No, seriously, I needed some adult interactions! What I wasn't really ready to do was hand my precious baby over to a total stranger I had just "met" recently. Starting day care for Baby G was really difficult for me. I knew it had to be done and I was ready for some time back at work, but I was terrified to give her over to someone I barely knew. It didn't help that I started seeing news reports about bad things happening at day cares (which I'm sure were out there all along, but I noticed them a lot more after I had Baby G). Then, when we had to transfer Baby G to a new day care after the first one didn't work out, I was scared again! How will she respond? Is this a good fit? Will Baby G be happier here? Things have turned out great at this new day care and we are happy to say Baby G is happy there, too. Still, handing your baby over to someone for the first time is scary. It's like saying, "here, please take care of the only reason in this world my heart continues to beat" to someone you barely know. Excruciating!

Baby G LOOOOVES her buddies at Day Care!

7. Scary trip to the ER: I believe Baby G was about 5 months old when her nasty cold started turning into something even nastier. Over the course of her day at her first day care she started getting a temperature that grew and grew and grew until, finally, her care provider called me to let me know it was over 102 degrees. I rushed over to the day care to pick her up to take her to the doctor, but realized there was no way I could drive from one end of our town to the other end where her doctor was located in enough time before they closed. I took her to a Minor Med place, instead. There they told me she had an ear infection and prescribed some meds. I went home and tried to soothe my sad and sick baby but as the night wore on, her temperature got worse. Finally, after several calls to the on-call doctor and several temperature readings that were going up instead of down, we got one final temperature reading of over 103.5 degrees. We scooped up Baby G and rushed her to the ER. During our ER stay she was so amazed by all of the nurses and equipment that she smiled and barely fussed at all, which made us look like over-reacting idiot parents, of course! Still, she was fighting a major double ear infection so they gave her an anti-biotic shot, a boatload of ibuprofin and Tylenol, and tried to make her drink some Pedialyte (no-go). In the end, she was fine. But, I will never forget the horror of hugging your baby when she's screaming and her skin feels like it's on fire. No bueno.

8. Your mama is a dumbass: One day on my way out and about with Baby G I made a mistake. I opened the garage door and started the car. I was loading Baby G in the car, got her carseat locked into the base, and then spent a couple of minutes loading the car up with necessities, all the while leaving the car door open so Baby G wouldn't get too upset that the car wasn't actually moving yet. Finally, I was ready to go. I closed all of the car doors and we set off. We weren't a full block from the house when I looked back and saw Baby G asleep. I thought, "Wow, that was really fast even for you, Baby G!" Immediately, I remembered that even though the garage door was open at the time, I had left car doors open in a semi-enclosed environment with a running car and a baby. "OMG," I thought, "I've given my baby carbon-monoxide poisoning!!!" I started yelling out Baby G's name to get her to wake up and respond so I would know she was okay, but even my loudest yelling wasn't getting her to twitch an eye. I frantically pulled the car over, jumped out of the car, flung her car door open, and tried to get her to respond to me. Of course, she did. She was just really sleepy, apparently. I still wasn't satisfied. I turned the car around and went back to the house to fully rouse her so I would KNOW without a doubt that she was okay. She was fine. I didn't poison my baby with invisible gasses. Still, I felt dumb for all of it.

9. Fat-thighed Baby G: The other night as the hubby and I were putting Baby G to bed, we realized we could barely zip up her footie-jammies over her big ol' right thigh. It's been a joke around the house that Baby G has some chubby thighs and I'd even started stretching out some of her jammies to give her more thigh room if they felt too tight. This night, however, we started to notice that one of her thighs was actually significantly chubbier than the other one. We went ahead with the bedtime ritual and put her to bed, but as I was giving her the night-time bottle, I kept feeling her thighs and, yes, they were very different. After putting her to bed I jumped on my iPod and started Googling the hell out of anything I could find hoping to find out if this was normal or something worth being scared over. I instantly found 2 terrifying possibilities: hip dysplasia and hemi-hypertrophy. I worried. I fretted. I even got a lecture from my hubby who has been known to be an extreme hypochondriac in the past about the horrors of Googling symptoms, but I didn't care. I was terribly worried that I was about to find out something was very wrong with our perfect little baby. After talking to the on-call doctor I decided I was going to take her in to the doctor first thing the next morning. Next morning, I went in to wake Baby G. I put her on the changing table and went to work studying her thighs. Yeah, they were totally the same size again. They've been fine ever since then, too. The only thing I can figure is maybe we had her diaper too tight on that side or she had some odd localized swelling. We're still keeping an eye on it just in case, but I'm going to do my best not to Google her symptoms anymore. I assume I'll have zero luck sticking to that.

I'm sure this is just the first 9 instances of roughly a million-billion different times Baby G will terrify me. I know this. I'm not going to pretend it won't happen again. It does, however, make me feel like I owe my parents an apology for all of the dumb things I did to worry THEM when I was little. Sorry mom. Sorry dad. I'll be good from now on!