The plan I had when I left home at 17 to attend college did not have marriage even as one single thought. Then I find myself walking down the aisle at 20 years old! Actually more like running, I just loved this person.
It seemed as if Todd was ready to have babies the next month and that freaked me out. I remember telling him, “Okay, I don’t even know how to take care of a baby and I’m still a baby.”
We went along enjoying our life together, just the two of us. One of the things I loved was waking up extra early with Todd and sitting together and reading. Todd is a major coffee person and he won me over with his amazing mocha made from our Starbucks espresso machine. This espresso maker was probably the most expensive thing we owned at the time and we treated it like it was our first baby.
Then it happened. I was 25 when our first baby, Jantzen, was born. I was scared out of mind.
It wasn’t in the plan to have my water break in church, a week early, to have an emergency C-section the next day.
What I did love about the C-section was those 3 days spent in the hospital with the nurses. They were doing everything for the baby and it looked so easy. I never even asked when I would be going home.
The third day, the nurse whisked open the hospital room door and announced that we were able to go home today.
I was instantly terrified.
I started panicking and actually asked with extreme uncertainty, “We are taking the baby home with us?”
I think she thought I was kidding but, I was seriously not ready for this. I mean this is a life. A little baby. Something living.
After wrestling with the car seat for quite some time, Jantzen was secure and we were driving home. Todd was driving so carefully and I was petrified.
Todd was so excited and kept looking back while driving and had the biggest smile on his face. I remember saying, in a very faint and disbelief voice, “I can’t believe they made us leave the hospital.”
Things were different than what I had envisioned. It did not come with disappointments I hadn’t expected nor had I read about it in any of the preparation books I had read. I was hormonal and crazy from medications due to an infection, which led to an antibiotic along with a pain pill that knocked me out.
Jantzen was hungry every couple of hours and even though I had enrolled and completed the La Feta Breastfeeding class and was a true believer, I was unable to breastfeed. Can you believe that? Sooooo, I naturally had to inflict myself with enough guilt for 20 people and wallow in that every chance I got. I would also recite all the things I had learned from the class and how Jantzen’s life would now be ruined due to this inability to breast-feed. His amazing long distance soy smelling solidified these beliefs spit up that would happen at any moment during the day and was always sure to somehow make its way to me. I was also upset because, Todd was not granted the time off from the church and so I hated everyone there (didn’t really hate them but it was not a good spot I was in). You know, now that I am writing this out, I wonder if Todd was running out of the house each morning excited to get away. Maybe he actually did get approval of his time off request.
It was just too much negativity when I had envisioned me being the best mom ever and was clearly failing by week two.
Well, we survived three weeks as parents. Things were looking up. My infection was gone. I didn’t hate anyone. I was getting ready each day by the time Todd arrived home and didn’t vomit negativity on him the minute he walked through the door. Things were on the upswing.
Jantzen continued his projectile spit up and it seemed to be gaining distance. Although impressive,
We were exhausted and our vision of the perfect little family was clearly being redefined by the reality of what is involved in caring for a baby on very limited sleep.
The lack of sleep alone is quite a shocker.
Sleep deprivation is a deadly threat to marital stability and satisfaction and this is due to the lack of energy available to devote to your relationship after having a child. There is this feeling as though you are constantly running on empty during the first few months/years of parenting. Sleep deprivation is a given for any couple with a baby in the house and one of the biggest culprits in stealing energy.
It took us a bit to remember everything is changing, and it took us time to adjust and find our way through this new maze of responsibilities and roles. Being flexible, with myself and my husband was necessary to reduce tension. We also agreed we were a team and there is no “right” way to parent. We developed a routine that worked for the two of us and Jantzen.
I was soooo disappointed in the inability to breast feed and had to snap out fit and realize raising a baby is exhausting and it is not the same as the way some of your friends are doing it. I had to avoid setting unrealistic expectations for us and for the baby and allowing discussion on how to handle all these changes together. We literally had to have discussions about how we would do things and how we could get some sleep and figure out what was important that we needed to make a priority in our new life together as a family of three.
Trying to go back to a normal scheduled and keeping up with church responsibilities, work obligations, family gatherings and fun with friends is not even something on the horizon.
It’s literally just survival mode.
Here we are 22 years later.
Time flew. And so quickly. My mom told me on several occasions while on phone conversations in those early years to enjoy my time with the kids because it goes so fast. I literally remember rolling my eyes on the other end of the phone and one time responding, “Well, it is as if time is standing still.” She laughed but I was serious.
My husband and I learned as we went along and here I am with my son, the groom, as he is walking me down the aisle to be seated in the first row at his wedding. Neither of us was ever those parents waiting for our kids to leave the house. In fact, that would have been good to prepare us for, I had no idea how much of an impact that would have on me individually and as a couple.
In spite of my occasional impatience and bursts of short-temper, outrageous punishment ideas that didn’t fit the crimes, insistence on verbalizing all the time that we love each other, my demand for as many dinners around the table as possible, my expectation to hug at every arrival, departure and sometimes during, and too many to count horror film screams through the years…
The man, who escorted me to my seat, is an amazing person with a compassionate heart for people and a desire to know God and to represent Him well. Here he is marrying his stunning bride.
They literally look like they could be a couple in a magazine and I like to refer to them as the “OC Millennial Snobs” who will be defining their family together as they see fit.
I am sure we have told them how hard it is to be married… seriously, like 5 minutes into it.
But I am also sure they do not believe us…. Yet.
And that’s okay. I am so proud and excited to see them grow and love each other.
Okay, and I do secretly hope they buy the house next door to us and we can see each other every day and I can spoil their babies… Something tells me that is not going to happen. One can dream. Don’t judge. Don’t destroy my hopes and dreams.
I know many times we feel sleep deprived and may lack an actual sense of being present when we are raising our kids. Many times we feel we have failed and are just making it up as we go along and wish we could have done things better or differently as parents.
So, ya, I wish I would have listened to my mom and enjoyed the time because it was going so fast and if I could change one thing, that would be to go back and savor the time as a family and to enjoy the mess, the dirt, the ailments, the “one more glass of water” before going to bed, reading every page in the story books, snuggling up to watch kid shows that I’m the only one laughing at and so many more moments.
I just realized I am a mother-in-law now. Wow, that just happened so quickly. My next blog should be titled, “Please call me mom.” Baaahaaaa okay, don’t worry, I am not going to insist on that and scare my daughter-in-law away. I will be good. Don’t worry.
Since I have worked in the Sleep Medicine field for many years, I just have to say, if you find that you or your spouse stop breathing or actually gasp for air while sleeping, that can a very serious issue. This can be with or without a newborn baby and can be life threatening and lead to other serious health issues. If that is you or your spouse, please contact us at American Sleep Centers to schedule with us either over the phone through our Telemedicine option or to come in and meet with one of our Board Certified Sleep Physicians. You can reach us by calling our toll free number at (866) 987-1611 or emailing us at email@example.com.
We are able to customize your treatment by verifying with your insurance company what they offer as far as coverage and curtail the journey to healthy sleeping around what you need. We look forward to hearing from you!