Goodness. The days fly by don’t they? I wake up in the morning with every intention of returning to my lonely little blog (is anyone still out there? ) and before I’ve had time to think, I’m crashing into bed barely able to string enough words together to make a coherent sentence.
Olivia Moonpie is 11 weeks adjusted today. On Tuesday, she’ll be 22 weeks actual age. Five and a half months old. People who knew her when look at her now in amazement. The baby who could fit in the palm of your hand is now 12 pounds of chubby cheeks and thighs. The preemie who spoke in growls and squawks now giggles and babbles and make the most endearing “HUUUU” noise. She smiles so big her eyes crinkle up. At this very moment, she’s sitting in her bouncy seat telling her toy bug a very long, detailed and humorous story as she smacks said bug around. She holds her head up to look over our shoulders, she stands on her own two feet for as long as you’ll help her balance. I expect her to roll over any day now and if she could, I have no doubt that she’d take off running. She’s willful and opinionated. She has a tooth coming in.
We made the decision to not push nursing on her. I went in with her to the lactaction consultant recently and learned that her latch was too shallow. I could try to retrain her to open her mouth wider, but after lots of soul-searching and a couple of feedings that dissolved into tears and screaming, it simply made more sense to accept that almost four months of bottle feeding and two months of latching incorrectly (although we’d been told she had an excellent latch at earlier visits to the LC) has created a bottle fed baby. I still pump and provide everything she eats, so my goal of a breastfed baby is still being met and now, we have nursing sessions during the day that are as much about comfort and snuggling as they are about eating. When she’s hungry, she gets a bottle. I was sad at losing out on an experience that would have been a given had things gone “normally”. I’d dreamt of putting my child to my breast to feed her and it is yet another instance of feeling cheated out of something. However, I am working on readjusting my perspective. Instead of feeling cheated because I can’t nurse her, I have the freedom bottle-feeding provides while still having the ability to enjoy the closeness of nursing when it suits us both.
This funny, smart, goofy little monkey has completely altered our lives. The grief that lay over our days like a fog has faded. There are still so many times I find myself thinking about the “what ifs” or wondering how different things would be with Lennox and Zoë running around. Oddly enough, if they were here, Olivia Moonpie probably wouldn’t be. But, as I hold her and feel her snuggle her fuzzy head deeper into the crook of my neck, I find I can think of them with all the love I hold in my heart for them and miss them without feeling ripped to shreds. I tell Olivia Moonpie about them often. She wore the pajamas I’d bought for the twins to wear home from the hospital. She snuggles in blankets made for them. Their car seats keep her safe. I miss them terribly, but part of them live in their little sister and I find that my grief has lost it’s razor sharp edge. Yes, I am sad that this morning I didn’t have two squirmy almost three year olds in my bed, but I DID have a snuffly, snuggly Moonpie there.
I am having a difficult time accepting that there will be no more Moonpies for us. After the Great Ordeal, I’ve been informed that future pregnancies would be very very bad and extremely irresponsible. My body does not take to pregnancy well. My body does not take to abdominal surgery well. We still have a large number of high quality frozen embryos, but unless we decide to find a gestation surrogate, Miss Moonpie will be my only child. This is hard for me to wrap my brain around. I had hoped to have two children. I really wanted Olivia Moonpie to have a sibling who was close in age. I know first hand what it’s like to grow up with half-siblings who are significantly older. It takes a very long time before the relationship reaches a point where the decade or more age difference stops interfering.
I’m trying to figure out how to order my life so I can stop feeling like I’m caught in a game of The Sims and all my needs meters are in the red. I’ve never been the most organized person around. Oh, I always have good intentions and start out trying to be orderly. And I DID manage to survive having the house on the market for an entire year. But, as soon as it was off the market, I was right back to my old habits. I cannot seem to actually put away a basket of clean clothes to save my life. I need to change this. Billions of other mothers manage to maintain their lives while caring for a small, needy sack of cute potatoes and so can I. I just need to figure out how they do it. And I need to learn not to rely so heavily on the fact that Shannon works from home. I can’t count on that always being the case and it isn’t fair to him now. So, my early New Years resolution is to figure out this whole stay at home mom thing. One day at a time.
Fifteen years ago, I would have told you I didn’t see having kids in my future. Now, I don’t know how I lived without her. I survived the NICU. I stumbled through bringing her home and learning to care for her without the safety net of nurses and monitors. She thrives. She smiles. She lights up when she sees either one of us. I guess we’re doing something right after all. So, if things are a little quieter around here, don’t worry. We have our ups and downs, and there are days when none of us manage to get out of our pajamas and days when it seems like someone (usually me) is doing nothing but crying and also days when the bliss takes over and there’s nothing for it but to sit and sniff her head. And, I think, maybe, just maybe, we’re starting to find our path again. We’ve made it through the darkest of woods and the longest, scariest of nights and the shining light that brought us out safely is a little Moonpie.
Lennox and Zoë would approve, I think.