Surviving The First Year of Parenthood

Surviving The First Year of Parenthood

A year ago today my son was born. It is truly amazing how quickly this year has gone by. During pregnancy, then birth, and those long first six months, you never believe you will get to this point. But once it’s here, you can’t believe your baby is turning one years old. Where did the time go?

I look back on the day I went into labor and it feels like yesterday. Five weeks before he was due I started having complications due to high blood pressure and I was placed on limited activity. I awoke two days later, on a Sunday morning, with horrible menstrual  like cramps and spotting. They didn’t get worse but they didn’t get better throughout the day. Since this was my first pregnancy, I had no idea what contractions felt like. Plus, it was too soon. I decided to ” walk it off” and meet my brother for a birthday dinner. There in the foyer of a Buffalo Wild Wings my water broke. And the chaos began.

I remember every hour of labor. I remember the pain. EVERY single unmedicated effing minute. I remember the epidural that failed and the burning in my back from the medication going subcutaneously. I remember the doctor ramming his hand up my vagina, elbow deep, to turn my son, and the little Miss Mary Sunshine of an intern telling me they were going to ruin his head if they had to use the suction. I remember the screaming. Lots of it. I remember Daddy Mayhem coaching me every step of the way. And I remember that final push. 29 hours later, yes 29, my son was born.

I remember that first horrible week. Horrible because I couldn’t be with my son like new moms should. Horrible because he stayed in the NICU and I was sent home. Horrible because things were just not going as planned. You know, the birth plan, the perfect labor plan, the dad cuts the umbilical cord plan, mom holds baby as soon as he’s born plan, I’m going to breastfeed like a champ plan, and they all go home as a family plan. When it comes to labor and delivery, there are no plans.

I remember the day we were told we could take him home. I remember driving him home. I remember showing him his room. And the rest is a blur.

Days blended into weeks. Weeks into months. He grew so fast, so big right before our eyes. I wish I would have spent more time cherishing the little things like rocking him to sleep instead of praying he would go to sleep so I could.

I envy my mother, mother-in-law, other family, and now his sitter for getting to spend their days with him, watching him blossom, while I work a full time job. I would give anything to have been able to be a stay at home mom but that just wasn’t in the cards.

What I have witnessed is this tiny little newborn turn into a handsome little boy. A little boy who loves Elmo and Mickey Mouse and can say word like mom, momma, dadda, babba, hi, yes, yeah (oops),cup, car, doggy, and book. A boy who loves cars and every toy, car or not, he pushes on the ground and says Vroooom!!

I am not the perfect mother nor are we the perfect parents but we are perfect for him. We do our best. I think every new parent needs to understand that. You can only do your best. You can’t compare yourself to other parents nor compare your child to other children.

You cannot judge other parents as hard as that is. For one day you will be the one being judged. That child acting a fool in the restaurant will be yours. The child screaming in the grocery store will be yours. The child throwing a tantrum because he cannot have something he wants will be yours. It will. You will say it will never be but believe me, it will.

My partner and I have grown apart yet have grown closer this past year. Having a child changes you as a person. It changes the way you look at things and feel things. Your previous life before child is over. It is but a speck of dust in the wind. It was a good ride, full of laughs and memories, but this life trumps that life. It doesn’t always feel that way. Sometimes you long for the old life. You dream of the freedom. But then your child looks at you and smiles and the reality check is in place. You are a mom. Together, you are somebody’s parents.

We did it! We survived the first year of parenthood!  Next up… The Terrible Two’s! Pray for us. It’s going to be another bumpy ride!


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