Tag Archives: SAHM

Felix is 10 Months Old!

Felix is 10 months old today. He is so happy these days, and is a delight to spend our days with.

We are doing better with routines now, and I think that has helped him understand when bedtime is. Sleeping remains a struggle, and naps are nearly nonexistent, but weโ€™re going to continue to work on it.

The developmental specialist said we should try to re-introduce dairy into Felixโ€˜s diet, and so far itโ€™s going well in small quantities. He is eating a pretty wide variety of foods now, and is finally starting to try and feed himself.

He is not crawling yet, though he is getting closer every day. His physical therapist reduced his visits to every other week rather than every week because heโ€™s making such wonderful progress. She said she anticipates him being caught up with his peers by age 2. We are just all so happy that he is getting caught up, and that he has passed his fussy first several months.

I canโ€™t believe we are nearing one year old! Onward and upward!

Bonding

When I was pregnant with Felix, I had certain beliefs and expectations of becoming a new mom again.  I knew I would be tired and sleep deprived for a while, and sore from the c-section.  I knew I wanted to breastfeed, and I knew the baby would sleep in our bed at least part of the time.  I knew we had family and friends who were looking forward to not only meeting our baby, but helping with him for babysitting and such. And I knew I wanted to stay at home with the baby for about the first year or so, at least.

From the first day Felix was born, he gave me hell about breastfeeding, which continues today.  He has found new and unique ways to make nursing challenging just about every week.  From refusing, to not latching right, to blood sugars requiring supplementation, to LOTS of biting.  Its been crazy!

My expectations about sleep deprivation were very inaccurate.  It’s been nothing like I thought it would be.  Felix does not have typical sleep patterns.  For one, he doesn’t really nap.  He sleeps 20-30 minutes, 2-3 times per day while laying on one of us.  If he gets put down, he wakes up.  And at night, for the longest time he didn’t sleep much.  He was awake for 2-3 hours in the middle of the night, and nursed several times overnight.  He would be wide awake and happy, playing in the dark and keeping us awake.  I was getting 3-4 hours of sleep per night for months.  It has evolved a little over time.  Now he generally sleeps well overnight, but still wakes to eat 2-3 times, occasionally staying awake for an hour or two, or occasionally having a night where he doesn’t sleep much at all. On the flipside of that, he occasionally has nights where he sleeps 10 hours straight.  But its more on the sleeping side now.  Even though he’s still challenging to get to go to sleep.

Friends and family have been few and far between as far as visits.  No one babysits except Felix’s big sister Zoey.  And that’s only been a couple times.  But some of that is just because Felix had CMV and was grumpy and colicky until he was about 6 months old.

And that’s where the point of this post comes into play: illness and colic, and bonding with my baby. For the very tough, colicky period, I loved Felix of course, but I didn’t like him. I hated all the crying, particularly because there was nothing I could do to soothe him. I couldn’t make him feel better. He would look directly into my face and scream frantically as if pleading for me to make it better. It broke my heart every day, and I sobbed right along with him.

And after a while the helplessness made me feel like a shitty mom. It made me angry, not at Felix, but at the universe for making my poor innocent baby so uncomfortable and upset. It also made me angry with myself for being so completely unable to make it better. I didn’t understand why it was happening. I started to have feelings of regret and resentment towards myself and Jarrod for deciding to have another baby in the first place. I was desperately missing the time I had spent with my husband, my older kids, my other family, my friends, and even working. I was entirely consumed with the fact that I now had to take care of this little, helpless, miserable, screaming human that I could not comfort or make feel better. I knew it would be a temporary phase in the bigger picture, but every day felt like an eternity. I didn’t see a light at the end of the tunnel.

Then, as more time passed and Felix wasn’t improving, wasn’t getting past his colic, and now had obvious developmental delays… my already sleep-deprived, depressed and anxiety-ridden brain absolutely ran away with ideas of serious illness and disabilities. He wasn’t physically moving right, seemingly wasn’t seeing or hearing well, wasn’t responding to anything or looking at us at all, had no interest in toys or really anything. Our family doctor really didn’t know what to tell us, so he sent us onto specialists. But before we could meet with the specialists, I couldn’t help but worry myself sick. My brain just would not shut off, thinking he had some severe life-altering condition or issue.

When we met with the developmental specialist the first time, Felix had improved only slightly. That was in August. Genetic tests, body system function tests, and many imaging tests were ordered. Physical, occupational and speech/feeding therapy was ordered. The doc said he wanted to be super aggressive for the best outcome. But while we were waiting for all of these appointments, Felix started to improve on his own.

The only test that came back without a normal result was the one for CMV antibodies. Meaning at some point in Felix’s short life, he had been exposed to CMV and had gotten an infection. CMV is like mono, and it effects everyone differently. Apparently it had a very strong, long lasting effect on Felix in a very important developmental period of his life. So he felt like he had a cold/flu for likely 2-3 months, and that is what was delaying everything.

In October, Felix had his follow up, and by then he was like a whole new baby. And since then he has improved even more. He is babbling, playing, social, happy, communicative, and a complete joy to have in our lives. Physical therapy is helping him learn how to move his body the ways he should have learned when he was sick with CMV. It’s giving him the awareness and confidence to try new things and he’s really blossoming.

His illness and delays really drove a stake into my heart at first, and made me question our decision to have another baby. It was extremely tough, and looking back I’m not sure how we survived it. But now that things are coming closer to “normal,” speaking for myself, there’s an overwhelming sense of relief and joy in my life. Felix is an amazing little guy. I’m so incredibly grateful and blessed to be his mommy. He has taught me so very much already, and I’m sure he will continue to teach me more. The bond is strong now, as I feared it would never be. Thank goodness.

I’m so lucky to have been able to stay home with him and support his extra needs. If I’d had to work or if I wasn’t as involved as I am with him, we may have missed the issues and it could have had much more lasting effects on him overall.

I’m even luckier to have an amazing husband supporting not only Felix’s needs, but me, my needs, and my dedication to helping our son. Jarrod and I make a pretty phenomenal parenting team. There’s no one in the world I’d rather have as my partner in life. He has supported me through all the struggles, listened to all of my venting, and done everything he could do to help in every way. He’s shared in all the joys and triumphs, with just as much excitement. He’s the best husband, father, and man I’ve ever known.

Now the regret and resentment is completely gone, as it has transformed into bliss. We made the right decision to have a baby. Felix makes the most perfect addition to our family. All the older kids adore him, and I feel like his presence is bringing us closer as a family as well. Something we all have in common. I am enjoying watching his personality develop and shine, and I am hopeful and excited for the future with Felix in it.

Felix is 9 Months Old!

He’s trying to crawl! In this photo he’s on his hands and knees. He bounces like that. He also sits up with his back straight and can balance much better.

He’s been using his walker to stand but doesn’t have very good balance on his feet yet.

He’s also been eating what we eat in tiny bites rather than purรฉes most of the time. He loves being included in whatever we are doing.

He likes being sung to and listening to mother goose songs on Apple Music. He also likes a few minutes of a time of Sesame Street.

He’s sleeping better most nights, and we’ve given up on naps. He will sleep for 15-30 minutes on me or Jarrod a couple times per day. That’s all.

He is enjoying more and more play time on the floor. ๏ฟผWe anticipate Felix will be mobile very shortly. I believe by his ten-month update he will be crawling. Stay tuned.๏ฟผ

Step 2?

Felix had his follow-up with his developmental specialist last week. All genetic tests came back normal. Imaging and other tests were normal except reflux, which we already knew. Great and consistent progress and improvement during physical therapy. So Dr. Noble said unless we wanted to chase any genetic anomalies, he wouldnโ€™t see him back for another 6 months. Which we chose not to do since he seemed very optimistic and not at all worried any longer.

Things Felix has left to do in November:

โ€ข Othamologist

โ€ข Audiologist

โ€ข GI Specialist

โ€ข Neurologist and EEG

โ€ข Continued physical therapy

No new specialists beyond November at this point. We may have follow-ups, and of course continued physical therapy, but nothing more referred by Dr. Noble. Weโ€™re making progress!

Untitled

Over the last few days, even weeks, I have been trying toย find who I am.

When I was in high school I was goth/punk.ย  I had friends, I had a social life.ย  I went to concerts.ย  I went to movies.ย  I had a boyfriend.

Once I entered my 20s, I settled down and had babies.ย  When that first marriage didn’t work, I dated around.ย  I didn’t know who I was anymore at that point.ย  My social life got flushed down the toilet when I gave birth to my first baby.ย  I didn’t go out and do anything anymore.ย  I stayed home with my kids and did what I could to give them a good upbringing myself rather than have a child care provider raise them.ย  I didn’t even go out or do anything, as family wouldn’t even keep an eye on the kiddos long enough for me to do anything.

Once I reached my 30s, I found a guy who would be my 2nd husband, and my boys were old enough to leave alone while I worked.ย  I found identity in my work and marriage.ย  I was a wife, a mom, and a veterinary assistant, which I LOVED.ย  I gained a couple friends so I had more social interaction again, and became slightly wider known and respected in my community.

Then due to physical limits from a slowly progressing disability, I lost my job at the vet clinic.ย  Then my husband left me.ย  I ended up dating someone who should never have been anything more than an old friend, and abuse ensued.ย  I lost a lot of my identity again.ย  I pushed away friends and family.ย  I neglected the emotional needs of my children.ย  I neglected all of my own needs.

When I finally snapped out of that pit of despair I found the love of my life, Jarrod.ย  He threw me a rope, so to speak, and pulled me out of that pit.ย  We got married, had surgery to be able to expand our family, and had our baby.ย  The older boys are teenagers now, and my husband’s daughters are also teenagers.ย  The boys and girls had very different upbringings, and clash with each other.ย  The rules the boys were raised with were very different than what the girls were accustomed to when they moved in, so things got lessened and a lot of slack was made for everyone to adjust to the new arrangement.

Now, 2 years later, its IMPOSSIBLE to tighten up rules to fit everyone.ย  We have tried and tried, and no one follows any rules.ย  Our house is a lawless wasteland.ย  No chores get done by kids ever, no matter what punishments or rewards, so if I want this house remotely tidy or sanitary, I have to do it myself.ย  Being a stay at home mom again, you’d think I have all the time in the world to get the house at least somewhat tidy.ย  But no, my baby is extremely demanding of my time and energy.ย  Most days I’m lucky to be able to feed myself supper, let alone scrub a toilet or mop a floor.

So since I had our baby, I’m having a crisis of identity again.ย  I’m a wife.ย  I’m a mom.ย  And that’s where it ends.ย  And I have a hard time even calling myself those two things…

To me, being a wife is being able to be my husband’s companion.ย  To talk to him, support him, enjoy time together with him (and him reciprocating those sentiments), and being a team when it comes to parenting and all the big and little decisions in life.ย  But instead, I feel like it has become an odd partnership, where he works and busts his ass for this family, and I’m at home not accomplishing anything that needs done, while the kids do whatever they want, whenever they want and I cannot keep up or enforce any sort of order.ย  When he comes home from work he is annoyed by kids’ behaviors.ย  When we do get a chance to talk, rather than text, its mostly made up of he and I both venting about our frustrations, and not really having much else to say because frustrations aren’t exactly conversation fuel. Also, by the time he gets home from work in the evening, I may have just laid down the baby and he will likely wake up and need put back to sleep 10,000 more times before I give up and just go to bed for the night.ย  Therefore leaving no time for us to just relax and watch a TV show, talk, or anything else married couples do in their time alone.

To me, being a mom means understanding the needs of the children and doing everything I can to meet those needs within reason, teaching the older kids life skills that will help them survive and thrive on their own such as cleaning, cooking, money management, appropriate social interactions… but this is where I’m failing miserably.ย  Every single one of the children who live in our home have serious issues with several of these things.ย  None of them follow rules.ย  None of them are motivated to do well in school.ย  None of them have any inkling of what should be a priority.ย  They have zero respect for adults, especially Jarrod or me.ย  And they do pretty much whatever in the fuck they feel like, all of the time.ย  The baby is just a baby, so I can’t be upset with him… but he is very needy.ย  A “Velcro” baby if you will.ย  He wants to be held, and when he is on the floor or somewhere playing, he wants me nearby and giving him attention still.ย  In the evenings, he gets fussy because he doesn’t nap during the day and doesn’t typically sleep well at night.ย  So I cannot make supper most nights due to trying to console a fussy and very overtired baby that fights sleep like it is the worst thing in the world. So the older kids end up fending for themselves for supper.

So yes I’m a mom, and I’m a wife, but I don’t feel like I’m doing well at those two things.ย  And that’s all I’ve got.ย  I don’t have any control over my household or my life.ย  I don’t have me time anymore.ย  I don’t get to watch TV.ย  I don’t get to watch movies.ย  I don’t get to listen to music.ย  I don’t get to go for a walk.ย  I don’t get to hang out with friends.ย  I don’t get to pursue any interests, passions, education or career.ย  If I did, this household would fall further and further down this spiral of chaos.ย  The only reason I even had time to sit down and type this is because I am on the brink of a nervous breakdown and I got pissed, screamed, stomped to my bedroom and slammed the door, like the teenagers do.ย  Honestly, due to all the difficulty with everything I attempt right now, I’m feeling like a failure as a human.

And while I’m going on about all this other shit, I might just throw in there that when I got pregnant, supportive people came out of the woodwork.ย  Family, friends… everyone was so happy and couldn’t wait to meet the baby and play with him.ย  And when he was born a few people showed up at the hospital.ย  But since then?ย  Nothing.ย  Literally even those I was closest to just vanished.ย  So yeah, I can’t even turn to anyone for emotional/moral support.ย  Jarrod and I are really on our own.

So, what is this blog post going to accomplish?ย  Is it going to make the teens or anyone at all give a shit about anything?ย  Is it going to make the house clean?ย  Is it going to make the baby sleep?ย  Is it going to make me feel better about myself as a parent, wife, or human?ย  Nope.ย  There is no point really.ย  So if you made it this far, I’m surprised.ย  Sorry to say, there’s no point to any of this.ย  It’s just one big long ramble of a woman with a missing identity, purpose in life, and support system.