Monday, February 20, 2012

Six reflections on pregnancy and the newborn days from this "poor little heady"

My friend's husband has this phrase he uses for her when she's over-analyzed something or honed in on a detail that no one else would notice or just thought too deeply about something that others would gloss over. "Poor Little Heady." I wish you could see the silly way he strokes her hair and looks at her when he says it. It's pretty adorable and pretty true most of the time.

But I have to admit there have been times when (after picking up this phrase from our friend) my husband has used it to describe me. And this blog post might have an element of "poor little heady."

Below are six brief reflections on my pregnancy and my early days as a mom. And while I mean every word, I don't want you to think I'm taking any of these too seriously. I am not saying any of these things made me a good or bad mom or that they made any material difference to anyone but me. Because, after all, sometimes I can have a poor little heady that thinks about things..., well, just because it's always thinking about things.

Three things I'm glad I did when I was pregnant (you know aside from the serious things like eating right and avoiding skydiving):
  • Sing. Not only that, but I'm glad I sang the same song. My husband read in the Brain Rules for Babies that songs babies hear often in the womb sound familiar to them even after they are born. So I wanted to pick the perfect song for him to remember. One that I would not get tired of singing. One that had lyrics about God and love. Based on my introduction, you shouldn't be surprised to know that I actually put a lot of thought into this. I picked just one song to sing because music is really important to me -- at the time I was singing on the praise team at my church -- and it's always around me. I thought that since he would be hearing so many different songs, I wanted one to stand out. I picked what I call the campfire version of Jesus Loves Me/Amazing Grace, which I come to learn is Paul Colman's Medley of Amazing Grace and Jesus Loves Me. It's a beautiful, lyrical version, and I continued to sing it after he was born. It was one of the songs that comforted him in his early life. There were times when I sang it and I could swear there was a look of recognition on his face (kind of like a tiny, pleasant double take). I'm sure the look of recognition was my imagination, but it still made me happy to know we had been bonding with that song since he was in the womb.
  • Pregnancy Journal. My husband and I waited almost 10 years before we started trying to get pregnant. I had no idea how the pregnancy would go because I had some health issues (that actually miraculously got better with the pregnancy). I was already 33 when we got pregnant. I just had the sense that, "I'm not sure if I will ever get to do this again," so I wanted to take time to reflect and to have a way to remember. Though my reasons were serious and sweet, the journal I chose was lighthearted and silly. It's called The Belly Book, and though there are places to record serious reflections, it also includes questions such as, "When you were in the womb, I thought you were: ___ a girl, ___ a boy, ___ a boxer. The funny little questions helped get my journaling juices flowing. There are places for pictures of the growing belly, places to record stats from the doctor visits and more. I love that I have that keepsake of such as special time.
  • Cord Blood Banking. I hope we never need it, but I am glad that we did it. If you are considering it, just remember to order the free kit well before you think you'll need it, so your blood pressure doesn't go up with the thought, "Oh no, what if he/she is early, and I haven't done this yet." Not that I'm speaking from've just heard that can sometimes happen...

Three things I wish I had done when Gavin was tiny:
  • More skin-to-skin. Everyone from doctors to granola mamas cite the benefits of skin-to-skin contact between mom and baby, as well as dad and baby. I was excited about this extra way to bond. Both Josh and I had skin-to-skin time with him when he was a newborn before and during that first nursing session. I also did it a few other times (like when he had wet his clothes and it was getting too close to feeding time for me to fuss with putting new clothes on him right away or when I got out of the shower just in time and nursed him in my robe) but, frankly, since it was winter (and I am cold-natured) and since I was a new mom (and pretty overwhelmed with the clip at which that little guy needed food) and since I was still healing (from delivering his darling little head that was turned the wrong direction), I have to admit: at the time, the thought of adding one more step by undressing him and/or me was just a little more than I wanted to do. Still, I wish I had done it a few more times. Not because I don't feel that we are plenty bonded and not because I think there is something in his development that is lacking, but just because he was only tiny once, and those times we were skin-to-skin were pretty special.
  • Sign up for Huggies and Pampers rewards. Okay, this is silly, but true. Now that I am collecting points for ALL the diapers and wipes that we use, I am thinking of ALLLLLL the points I threw away. Again, not that I really could have added one more thing to my plate in those early days, but it sure would have been nice to have saved them to enter later...
  • Floss my teeth every day (like I used to). This may sound silly or nerdy, but I am dead serious about this one. After Gavin was born, it was definitely one of the things I let go. But if someone had told me that at that next dentist appointment after delivery, the dentist would discover my first-ever cavity which would be followed by my first-ever root canal, I would have stayed up the extra minute to take care of it. When they discovered it, I told my boss, and she said, "Oh yeah, I should have thought to tell you that the baby can steal your calcium and make you more vulnerable to stuff like that." The cavity had extra opportunity to grow undetected since pregnant women can't have X-rays. Now, the root canal wasn't actually that bad -- I was as shocked as anyone. It was more the idea that, for so long, I had all of my teeth, and then I had to say goodbye to one of them. It was actually very sad. See what I mean...Poor Little Heady...

1 comment:

  1. Speaking of poor little heady, there is one more thing I meant to add about what I did when I was pregnant that I forgot about, and one more I've thought of since then:

    * Surprisingly I am so glad I signed up for emails from "What to Expect When You're Expecting." I hate getting junky emails, but it was uncanny how many times I would be wondering something about the pregnancy and then I would get an email explaining it!

    * I am glad I used Burt's Bees Belly Balm. I know it works differently for everyone, but I got zero stretch marks on the places I used it, and, well, let's not talk about the places I didn't use it.