Monday, May 30, 2016

Spitting Image

One thing I haven't talked about much here is that Andrew looks exactly like Jack. Not necessarily in photos, but in person he is the spitting image. Folks who knew Jack as a tiny baby take a step back and say, "Oh, WOW" when they see Andrew for the first time.

I don't doubt that as he sheds his newborn-ness and asserts his own personality, he will start to look more like his unique self, but oh boy, I wasn't expecting a little clone baby. My siblings and I may have resembled each other, but never this much.

Also, like Jack, Andrew will only sleep during the day if he's resting on my stomach and I'm bouncing my pelvis up and down. Call it mama twerking if you will. But of course when I did it with Jack, none of us knew what twerking was and Miley Cyrus was still a Huggies-wearing preschooler named Destiny Hope. Good times.

So, what is it like having a baby who looks just like my son who died?

It's pretty awesome and not all that weird. I tried to figure out why I don't find it more painful or troubling, and I think, in a way, it's because it has helped throw me right back into what motherhood was like so long ago, even though I am rusty. It just feels right. Of course he looks like a Donaldson, because he IS one! He looks a lot like Margaret, too, and Tim, and me. And even though I'm 46 and this whole thing has been quite the surprise, I'm still MOM-- hear me roar. Or hear me scrape the bottom of yet another ice cream bowl, but whatever.

Andrew's sweet little looks don't make me miss Jack more. What I mean is, having baby Andrew makes me miss the sweet and innocent times of Jack and Margaret's babyhoods (something I never thought I would say) just as you might miss your own children's babyhoods-- marveling at how little they once were, remembering the sweet baby smells, footy pajamas, and the very first smiles. It isn't about grief as much as change and the passing of time.

With Jack, I miss the 17 year old boy who would be up to who knows what this summer, driving around town, dating, and hopefully holding down a part time job before Senior year. I try to picture him as the big, big brother to this little one, which isn't difficult because teenaged Margaret is such an awesome example, marveling along with Mom and Dad at every teeny tiny milestone.

I'm grateful that I'm able to remember and channel the sweet, tough, sleepless days of the past, as with love and wonder and muscle memory we embrace these new ones with Baby Andrew.

P.S. How I wish for your sake the computer screen had "smell-i-vision" because there is a sweet baby on my chest right now, and his head is right in sniffing range.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Thursday, May 12, 2016

The Low Down

So, I have my 6 week postpartum OB/Gyn visit next week and I'm a tad nervous.

You know how they say all babies steal a piece of their mamas' hearts? Well, I think mine may have stolen something else when he went hurtling out of the birth canal. Was he grabbing at my innards with those tiny dagger-like baby nails?  Was he trying to guarantee there would be no more miracle babies in our family, by ripping my uterus out? Or, although quite toothless, was he somehow fighting tooth and nail to stay inside the cozy chamber of my womb?

Who knows? But something doesn't feel quite right even after almost 6 weeks. You know, a little twinge-y. Sure, I'm no longer wearing an adult diaper and spraying myself with Dermoplast. My self care the past few weeks has been more about brownies and ice cream than sitz baths and ice packs. But I should have known there could be trouble when the doctor spent more time stitching me up than she spent delivering my sweet bundle of joy.

I remember my last postpartum doctor's visit, almost 15 years ago. The elderly male doctor said with a hardy-har and a big smile, "Now you can go home and do your wifely duty!" My first thought was, "Um, did he really just say 'wifely duty'?" My second thought was, "Poor Tim is going to miss out because I am now mad at the whole patriarchal society, AND my boobs are leaking."

I'm guessing if my new OB/Gyn gives me the green light at the appointment, hopefully in far less sexist words, I may have to proceed with caution. Wouldn't a yellow light be wiser than a green light, anyway?

Who knows? I'm hopeful there will be an easy fix to get things back to normal down there.

If not, I could always do what I did after that last visit all those years ago.

Tim:   (hopeful countenance, eyebrows raised) "Um, so, what did the doctor say?"
Anna:  (fake look of disappointment, shaking head slowly) 10 weeks. He said we need to wait 10 weeks.

p.s. I may be joking a bit here about my own discomfort, but I have access to great medical care. There are many women around the world who lack the resources to get help for OB/Gyn injuries, and it leads to ostracism and life-long disability. Every woman should know about The Fistula Foundation and the amazing work it does!

Monday, May 9, 2016

Lots of Photos

I've been posting baby pictures over on Facebook, but don't want to neglect you over here!

Andrew is now 5 weeks old. He weighs about 8.5 lbs and is starting to fill out a bit. He has found his voice and cries pretty much whenever we are not holding him. It sounds really, really loud to us. The good news is, he is super snuggly, a joy to hold, and I can watch Netflix over the top of his head.

He is an alert baby who fights sleep, just like his brother and sister did. I was waiting to write my next post until I had some deep thoughts about mothering after loss, mothering a baby who looks exactly like Jack, and mothering while pushing 50. Call it sleep deprivation, but the deep thoughts haven't come, so I'll just smother you with the cuteness of baby pics.

I wish you could smell him.

And feel his baby hiccups against your chest.

Don't worry, we are getting lots of pics of big sister with her baby brother, but I'm not sure which ones are okay'd for the internet yet.