not taking milestones for granted

As a new mom, I look for and forward to every single milestone. I probably rush things, which only frustrates me and Jackson. I so wanted him to walk well by his first birthday, but it wasn’t until the next week that he decided walking was better than crawling. Now I am working and working and working on getting him to talk more. And more with a purpose. I need to maybe relax a little – he’ll talk when he’s ready.

I can say that, because, as far as we know, he’s “normal,” average. But… what if he doesn’t talk? What if tomorrow I was told that odds were against Jackson talking? How would I react?

My friend’s baby’s scans were completed last week, and they got the best possible news – the tumor had not metastasized and they can avoid surgery and chemo for now. Re-scans every 3 months. But, the prognosis of her future walking was not made any brighter.

My friend is being beautiful and strong about it. But she is grieving and heartbroken, too. She’s an awesome athlete… and she’s basically been told that her daughter will not be a conventional amazing athlete because of a stupid tumor. That she’ll probably need a wheelchair. Therapy. Fight a stigma of being “special,”  no matter her intelligence. And while I absolutely foresee some version of walking at some point… it won’t be by or anywhere near her first birthday. Most of us don’t remember our own first steps, but she may very well know that memory. She could blow all of this out of the water… but the doctor made no promises of miracles, and they are heading into the future with open, realistic eyes.

Which brings me back to where I started. Our children are all different. They will all do different things with different levels of abilities. And we, as parents, have these expectations, crazy or reasonable. I expect Jackson to walk, and run, and talk, and be really smart, get a full ride football scholarship, and cure AIDS. He probably won’t. And I need to be okay with that. I need to stop rushing him. Keep encouraging him. And, I need to cherish each milestone as it occurs and quit taking them for granted. Because I love him no matter what.

fall

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2 months

11/11/13… 2 months.

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Jackson has changed so much in the last 4 weeks. He smiles at us, and chats with us. He loves music, in fact he loves it so much that he gets mad when I take him off of the changing table where he has music and a mobile to stare at. Seriously – if he’s inconsolable, put him on the changing table and suddenly, all better. He still likes his paci, but spends much more time without it now. And, he is the happiest boy in the mornings, all smiles and coos and kicking feet.

chillin' on the changing table

chillin’ on the changing table

My biggest dilemma is his continued spitting up. I chatted with his nurse practitioner, and I still feel since he’s a happy puker, not in pain, the meds won’t help anything. His esophagus just needs to mature. She agrees. It’s very frustrating to get puked on so often. To change his clothes 1,000 times a day. To cover his cute clothes with bibs. To carry bath towels in the car and have them all over the house, because he pukes so much at once when he’s burped that unless you have a towel for a shield, you get soaked. In fact I sleep with a towel in the bed for night time feedings. The towel goes between my head and my hubby’s head. Romantic.

I know it could be worse, I understand that. Yes, he fusses when there are burbs stuck, but his cry isn’t shrill. And yes, he pukes a lot, but he’s gaining weight and staying on his growth curve. So, he’ll grow out of it. Eventually. Luckily breastmilk doesn’t stain 🙂

after our 2 month shots, took 'em like a champ... mommy, not so much. I've given plenty of infants shots, but it's much more traumatic when it's YOUR baby.

after our 2 month shots, took ’em like a champ… mommy, not so much. I’ve given plenty of infants shots, but it’s much more traumatic when it’s YOUR baby.

the simple. and the complicated.

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loving my son is simple. it’s easy and as natural as breathing, as involuntary as my heart beating.

but I’m not sure I’m enough.

I had to start clinicals this week. I had to leave my baby with his nanny, who loves him, but who is not me. I’m am ridiculously jealous of her. I keep telling myself to forge on, finish, and make the McMillan household a more financially stable place to live. I will not quit school. I will not give up. But I just wish… it wasn’t so complicated. I wish my 12 weeks of maternity leave from my job that actually pays me, could also be a leave from school, for which I pay. I wish I could spend every hour of every day with Jackson. My Wookie.  (I know, if I actually had to spend every hour of every day with him, I’d beg for a little break – wanting what we can’t have is tough).

I pray a lot. For strength. Courage. Compassion on myself.  I am so hard on me. I feel like a not-as-good mommy. I am tired, but I am trying.

Even though breastfeeding isn’t easy – it’s time consuming and it’s 100% dependent on me – I am considering myself more and more lucky that I can do it, and do it abundantly despite stress, sickness, and fairly extreme weight loss.  I will give him that gift. I cannot be with him every hour of every day, but I can nourish him when I am away. I am trying.

And, I am getting better at letting my husband help, he is getting better at helping. It’s a mommy thing, I think, to feel we know best, but I am trying.

One of my best friends sent me a link to a blog post about taking care of yourself as a new momma. Please, if you are a new momma, read it. I printed it off, folded it up, put it in my photo album in my pumping bag, and have it at my disposal whenever I need to remind myself that I am trying, and I am doing ok.

but on a much better, more beautiful note, these are Jackson’s newborn pictures… most handsome baby ever, of course. No trying necessary 🙂

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jackson’s birth photos

My photographer friend gave me the CD with the birth photos on Monday when she did newborn photos for us, too. I waited to look at them until I had the time to truly look at them. And cry over them.

Cry, I did. And I probably will every time. They are magical. Priceless.

And, while very, very personal, I also wanted to share with you, my blog world. So, I made a video.

Enjoy.

ps… worry not, there aren’t any va-jay-jay shots.

a birth story.

I want this whole post to be right, to accurately portray our birth story. Jackson’s birth story. Monday I was having plenty of contractions. Some “painful,” some just annoying, and hence I was annoyed. So I cleaned. I walked. I … Continue reading

vantage point.

last night my vantage point looked like this…

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But today… today is a new day, and my vantage point is so much more beautiful.

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Born on his due date, 9/11/13 at 4:56am, weighing 7 pounds and 9 ounces, is our perfect, precious boy… Jackson Christopher McMillan.

SOOOOOO in love.  

birth story to follow when I get an hour of sleep. seriously, just one hour.

here we are.

still pregnant. Not that I’m shocked and amazed. I have been contracting since my appointment on Tuesday, but not useful contractions, just annoying ones. Last night they were 5-10 minutes apart lasting at least a minute a piece for the 3 hours before I went to bed, and while I woke up to multiple more, they are not labor contractions, they are hard, they are uncomfortable, but they are not labor contractions.

I wouldn’t care, but I feel like my maternity leave, the precious small time I will get with my newborn son, is ticking away. Slipping away.

I want him to be healthy and to come when he’s ready. I’m trying to be patient. But my prayers today are definitely that he comes soon.

LABOR day

It’s labor day. Like, “don’t work” day. Except if you are pregnant… the meaning changes a little 🙂

so, dear baby mcmuffin:

I know it’s 9 days before your “estimated date of delivery” and you’re probably comfortable in there. Momma’s not miserable yet, so it’s okay if you don’t come out today. Really.

HOWEVER… if you have a sense of humor as a newborn human, today would be a fun day to be born. Just sayin’

And your dad is really, really excited and impatient for you to come out. He doesn’t have to push you out, so he’s cool with now. RIGHT NOW. Anyway… we love you, we want you to grow on the inside until you’re ready to be on the outside, but just to let you know, the outside is ready for you. And we can’t wait to meet you!

love,
momma and daddy mcmuffin.

update

I went to bed last night feeling not-so-easy about the appointment yesterday. Today when I ran into the ultrasound tech, I asked him if we could squeeze me in today, despite the fact I was supposed to be working (my lame excuse for scatter-brained nursing that I was performing up to that point). He said he had an opening and my co-workers squashed my guilt about leaving them with a little extra work for an hour… I think they knew if I got a little reassurance, I would come back a more normal version of me. So I waddled down to the ultrasound room.He doesn’t have hydrops (the radiologist in me says so) THANK YOU JESUS.  Anatomically everything looked pretty good. I even got to see his little out-stretched hand for the first time (he had always had his dukes up in fists for ultrasounds). His heart is taking obvious pauses, about every 8-20 beats of so.  My nurse brain says, “it’s fine. quit worrying.”  my mommy brain is more concerned, but still super, duper relieved he doesn’t appear hydrops-y.

I have an appointment with the perinatologist next Thursday for a fetal echo… if I’m still pregnant at that point.  At least that will tell us if this is a physiological (caused by something normal) or pathological (caused by a problem) problem.  Until then, we wait. And pray. And be positive.  If it is something, or is the sign of something, we’ll deal with it.

hello everyone!

hello everyone!

maternity pics

I am so fortunate to have a great friend and co-worker who also has a photography business. We intend to have her in the delivery room, if at all possible, to capture the birth of our little man (from the … Continue reading