Saturday, September 22, 2012

William is 1 Month Old!

I cannot believe I am already digging into my monthly progression posts.  When William was born, I spent the longest 5 days of my life waiting to be his mommy.  Each day could have filled its own month.  Then he came home and, poof!  A month has passed!  I know I have recently gone on and on about how hectic life is with three kids, but I cherish every single moment.  I really do!  I would not trade anything for my "old" life.  So, with no further ado...
Length: ( for an update)
Weight: +/- 8.5 lbs

Sleeping Patterns: You are a good sleeper!  You have to be around here! Haha.  You like to be swaddled and sleep on your back or propped on your side, but you do work your hands out eventually.  You love your hands to be up by your face.  I always know when you hands are coming out, because I hear you grunting and stretching in your bassinet.  Then again, sometimes those grunts mean something a little, um, south of the hands...Confession time: I have been known to let you sleep on your tummy, but only for quick cat naps when I can check on you often.  You love it!

Eating Habits: Snack bar is open 24 hours a day!  We are working on our pattern.  We don't have it nailed yet.  You can usually go two-and-a-half to three hours between feedings, but that's only if I really concentrate and make sure you are filling up your tummy.  I can't multi-task while nursing you; you will just pacify.

New Discoveries and Accomplishments:  Everything!  Your life is a blank slate right now and you are quickly filling it up with experiences.  I noticed just yesterday while your Mimi was holding you that you were really holding your head up strong.  You hate tummy time, but perhaps all of that exercise is paying off.

Places You Love: You love your bassinet because I have declared it your "safe place"...Rob and Caroline are not allowed to touch you or mess with you when you are in your bassinet.  You really like your vibrating bouncy seat, too.  A special thanks to Ms. Stevie who procured that for us!  It just wouldn't do for you to hang out in Caroline's pink one.

Special Friends: Not too many new friends yet; you don't leave Mommy's side much.  You have the best big brother and big sister in the world and they are both itching to play with you.  But you have been doted on my all your grandparents, aunts and uncles, and cousins. 

Current Events:  We are in the middle of a pretty heated election year, so Romney vs. Obama fills the news.  There is terrible unrest and terrorism in the Middle East and we pray everyday for peace.  The weather has turned beautiful and there is a taste of fall in the air.  Oh, and the Crimson Tide is now 3-0 and making a run for another National Championship!

What We Did This Day:  Today (September 21st) was a Friday.  Rob and Caroline went to school -- Rob to Helena Elementary and Caroline to Ms. Beth's -- then you and I ran some errands.  I only had a few things on my list, but had to stop and nurse you twice while we were out!  You hungry li'l monster!

PS: How cute is that picture of you above?  It was a little hard to capture just the right moment!  Enjoy the hilarity below:

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Mommy Guilt

Oh, hello, postpartum depression.  Is that you?  I sure was hoping you had lost my address this time.

Warning to all my loyal readers: you are about to enter what may appear as a pity-party.  Don't be fooled by first impressions.  Rather than pity myself, I am opening up to all vulnerability in the wishful belief that I am not the only one who has ever felt or will ever feel this way.  Let's call this a blogging attempt at commiserating with each other.

So I am really struggling with Mommy Guilt right now, and the more I fight it, the deeper I seem to dig myself into this dark hole.  Anytime you alter the family dynamic, you are going to create feelings of uncertainty.  I knew when I was pregnant that these days would come, but can you ever truly prepare? 

I had heard horror stories of having two kids in diapers.  I had heard tales of freshly potty-trained siblings reverting to diapers and bed wetting once a baby came home.  I don't believe I forced Caroline to potty train.  She actually caught on to the concept pretty easily.  Nevertheless, now we are having terrible times in the bathroom.  Logically, I think that is her sense of "control".  If she holds her tee-tee or poo, then she has control over something...anything.  Naturally her lack of confidence and need for control reflects on me, right?  It's all my fault.  She has gone from Mommy's baby girl to the middle child lost between the kindergartner and the new baby.  Caroline must believe she has lost her footing in this family.

Rob used to have the best manners.  Maybe saying "ma'am" and "sir" to everyone is becoming more of a regional-dialect thing, but here in the deep south of Alabama, it is still seen as respectful.  Rob used to nail it.  Now I know that once I sent him to the "melting pot of negative personality attributes" more commonly known as public school, Rob would start bringing home some bad habits which would need addressing.  However, I guess I thought I would be able to simply reinstate Rob's good behavior and move on.  Instead, I find myself tense all the time and speaking tersely to everyone around me -- including Rob.  I am not leading by example at all.  Who am I to correct Rob's manners when I can't seem to show any respect to anyone around me?

Also, Rob spent the night with my in-laws last night.  We texted them just asking, "Hey, how's he doing?"  This is the response we received: "He has been fine.  I think all the adjustments are just getting to him, too."  Whoa!  That was probably supposed to be a simple, innocent, he-is-having-a-blast-at-grandma's-house response, but this is what my Mommy Guilt heard:  You know that hell-hold you created by over-populating the Earth?  Well it has gotten the best of Rob and he is so thankful to be over here and have a reprieve from the chaos at your house.  Great job, mother-of-the-year! Ouch...

Our dinnertime routines have gone out the window.  We haven't sat around the table and had a family conversation in I can't tell you how long.  We set a school night bedtime of 8:00 PM but that rarely happens.  In the mornings when Rob is exhausted and I am bemoaning that he needs to go to bed earlier, I remember that I am usually bathing the kids while nursing a baby in the bathroom and rushing them to bed shortly after swaddling the newborn praying he will sleep for the next three hours.

Then there's William; bless his heart. He has been nursed in my car twice -- once at Target because I just had to get out of the house and sure enough he got hungry, and once at the bus stop because he always seems to be hungry around 3:30 PM when I have to get Rob. I mean, he truly is a helpless, innocent infant. It's not his fault that I force him to fit into "my" schedule" rather than vice-versa.  I try to spend time with Rob and Caroline, and sometimes that means Will has to cry for a bit.  Sure, it's making his lungs strong, but I worry that I am conditioning him to either be overly self-sacrificing or overly loud to make sure he gets listened to from time to time. 

So, what do I do right around here?  My kids are healthy; they have a roof over their head; they never go to bed hungry; they wear clothes and shoes that are neat, clean, and stylish; we go to church on a regular basis; we do not watch violence or smut on TV in front of the kids; we live in one of the top 100 places to live; and we send them to a well-respected award-winning school system.  Why isn't that enough?

To those of you who reading this who have had kids and perhaps they are well-adjusted older children, how did you get through it?  To those of you with only one child and and you are thinking of adding to your family, please don't let me scare you.  It can't really be as bad as it feels, can it?  I believe in my heart that this guilt will pass, which is why I wake up everyday thanking God for another day of being Rob, Caroline, and Will's mommy.  But then there are moments that engulf me when I just feel so sorry for my children, and I worry that they will someday take me on some D-list psychologist's talk show to berate me for the zoo-like childhood they were forced to endure.

Thank you for reading, and please continue to pray for the solid family dynamic -- pray I can provide it to my children and pray that families everywhere get to experience love and trust.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The First Days

It's very hard to believe, but William is 2 weeks old today.  It truly feels like yesterday that I was still pregnant; the night before my induction Bobby had football practice so the (two) kids and ate dinner at my mom's.  I was so tired -- tired of getting up to go to the bathroom multiple times per night; tired of my crazy, pregnancy/hormone dreams making me sleep restlessly; tired of not being able to see my toes; tired of my maternity clothes.  Boy, I only thought I knew tired!

The first days are the hardest whether you have one child, two, three, or any combination of a new family.  The first days are full of uncertainty, unrest, and unending diaper changes and feedings.  For Bobby and me, our first days as William's parents were all of that and more; we were also concerned about how he entered the world so scarily full of needs.  However, 1 Samuel 1:27 says "For this child I prayed, and the LORD has granted me my petition that I made to him."  In the first days, so many people were praying for William, for the nurses and doctors who were looking after him, and for Bobby and me who were left with more questions than answers, that those days seem to have passed in the blink of an eye.  I cannot believe two weeks have already passed.  Here is an update of all we have learned and all that we know.
First of all the health issue:  We have seen the pediatrician twice now -- shortly after coming home and again today for his 2-week checkup.  Both times Will has received a clean bill of health and we have been told to go home and "spoil him rotten."  We saw a wonderful cardiologist, Dr. Robb Romp at UAB who will be Will's cardiologist for as long as he needs one.  What happened at birth is called Supraventricular tachycardia (SVT) -- a condition which causes the heart to beat very quickly (200-300 beats/minute) for an extended period of time. It is occurs in 1 of 250-1000 kids.  Read more about it here or here.  Basically, the heart has its own built-in pacemaker, and when the electrodes go haywire, the heart beats faster and faster until it becomes unable to correctly oxygenate blood and distribute it to the rest of the body.  Depending on who you ask, most people will tell you this is not a life-threatening disorder, but it can have very serious health ramifications if left untreated. 

The only way to accurately diagnose SVT is to look at a heart strip from an EKG in the moment.  Unfortunately "in the moment" for Will meant immediately after birth; because the nurses were more concerned about stabilizing him than then EKG strips, the cardiologist cannot say with absolute certainty that Will even has SVT.  But treating it is better than taking the risk of not treating it.  Will must take a BETA blocker for up to a year, or until Dr. Romp is absolutely confident he has outgrown this condition -- almost all patients simply outgrow SVT and never have episodes again.

Next, the new-mommy concerns:  Hmm..where to begin?  I am trying to nurse Will.  After all, "the breast is best" according to the medical society.  But if you want to be a successful breastfeeding duo, there are assumptions for success -- avoid use of a pacifier or any kind of bottles for up to the first month if possible.  Try to nurse the baby within the first hour of birth if possible.  Notice a trend here?  The cards are stacked against me here.  NICU babies are bottle fed and plugged with pacis.  Again, I'm not blaming anyone for negligent care; rather I'm simply bemoaning the fact that my sweet little challenging baby comes with even more built-in obstacles.

Will wants to nurse every 2 hours or so and he has a hard time getting full at each feeding.  This is wrecking havoc on my, um, chest.  But then there is a part of me when he is snuggled up and latched on which just smells the top of his head and becomes misty-eyed at the realization that this day, this moment, will never be replicated with another child down the road.  I lavish each moment, good, bad, or sad because I want to remember everything.
This morning I heard the most alarming thing from my backseat...Caroline: "I'm gonna teach Willwem to eat cheerios."  Me: "Nooooooo!"  I was praying my sweet girl didn't stick a cheerio in the baby's mouth.  Then I had a good laugh.  All she knows is that she is someone's big sister now.  She is a little confused about her role in the world right now.  She wants to put on pull-ups, she has sucked his paci, and she wants to put him in her baby stroller.  Again, I frequently find my stress levels above-normal, but I also beg myself to find the humor, feel the compassion, and display the tripled love for the kids.  They, too, should remember these first days with nothing less than smiles.

I'm so tired right now.  I constantly feel like my eyes are glassing over.  I miss my pre-pregnancy GAP skinny jeans, and I still feel guilty about enjoying a cool, occasional adult beverage.  But I know that those problems are temporary, as is this entire infancy.  I also know that God always knew the Morris family would include at least (and hopefully no more than) five members. 

The first days have been sleep deprived, concen overloaded, and worrysome.  But the first days lead to the best days and I am so thankful that we have the future at our doorstep.  Thank you, again, to everyone who has sent thoughts and prayers our way.  Stay my Aunt Joyce joked once while I was pregnant with Will "...and then there were three!"

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Rob is 6 Years Old!

I cannot believe my sweet first born baby is six years old now! When Rob was first born I thought I would burst with pride at being someone's "mommy". Now my mommy love has tripled, but I still hold a special place for my first is what you should know about Robert Corry Morris, Jr: longer my only son, but still my number one!
Height: 48 1/2"
Weight: 53 lbs

Sleeping Patterns: You are a good sleeper. Just like mommy you are ready to go to sleep when you are can fall asleep despite a TV on, others near you wide awake, or the light of day still glowing. Also like mommy you are an early riser who cannot just roll over and go back to sleep. So that puts a wrench in weekend slumber, but that's okay.

Eating Habits: It used to be that you would wake up hungry and want an almost immediate breakfast. You still like to eat in the mornings, but you have slowed down a little. Now that you have started Kindergarten, you like to buy your lunch in the cafeteria. It cracks me up for you to tell me that you ate peas and green beans. I'm proud that you make healthy choices, but I am saddled with the responsibility to have those choices available to you. You love fruit, you dislike onions and pickles, and you have recently discovered mommy's / Nona's recipe for homemade beefaroni which you like even more than spaghetti.

New Discoveries & Accomplishments: You played soccer for the first time this spring and loved it. You learned how to swim this summer at the YMCA. And most importantly, you started Kindergarten this year which has opened this category wide.

Places You Love: You really love swimming! This summer you got to go to Orange Beach, AL and to Destin, FL -- at each location you definitely prefered the pool to the sand! We swam at cousin Miles' pool several times and you had a blast. You ask all the time if someone can take you to Top It Off (frozen yogurt bar). I wish we could say "yes" every time, but we would either weigh 300 lbs or be broke or both! You love to go to Aunt Kristy's and play with cousin Josh. But more than anything else, you really love being at home, which is fine by me! 

Special Friends: You invited some of your good buddies from Prince of Peace to your birthday party this month.  I think you miss them.  However, now that you have started Kindergarten, you are starting to talk about the kids in your class more.  He's not in your class, but RJ goes to Helena Elementary and you really like him.  There is a boy on your bus named Julian who you sit beside each day.  Hopefully we can get together and play with him soon.
Current Events:  The Summer Olympics took place this July in London, and you really enjoyed all of the coverage.  You would watch all day long and give me updates on scores, medals, etc.  You learned all about fencing, diving, volleyball, rowing, and more!  You knew all about Michael Phelps, and you also loved men's gymnastics, too.  Sad news: gun violence is on the rise.  The country is still reeling from the mass shooting at the Batman movie in Aurora, CO and now this month six people were killed in a Wisconsin Sikh Temple shooting.  It's an election year and your Republican parents were excited when GOP candidate Mitt Romney introduced Wisconsin Representative Paul D. Ryan as his presidential running mate during an appearance in Norfolk,  VA.

What We Did This Day:  Your birthday (August 28th) fell on a Tuesday during the second week of school.  Baby Will has only been home from the hospital for three days, so we took advantage of your birthday and had a quiet night at home.  We ate dinner, had a cookie cake, and you got to open a fun li'l present.  Remember, your birthday party was held earlier this month at Pump-It-Up.