Sunday, June 27, 2010

Such as it is... or was... or whatever.

I don't delve into deep thoughts here often. I try to keep this a light-hearted place, for the most part. Updates about our lives, what we have dealt with in regards to Miss Sunshine's cleft, and so on.

Pardon me for a moment while I ruminate. (I like big words, sorry. I use them quite often, you will notice).

In the last two years, our lives have changed drastically. Two years ago, we had just found out we were pregnant with Miss Sunshine. We both had good paying full-time jobs, and were in, what we felt at the time, a good position to be expanding our family. Then, when I was five months pregnant, we found out Daddy Mac was getting laid off at the end of the year. Then along came Miss Sunshine, with that surprise cleft palate. And boy, were we totally unprepared for that. I'd like to say that I did a great job adjusting, that I took it all in stride and kept right on moving. That, however, would be something of a lie. I kept things right on moving yes, but the rest of it... well... Daddy Mac did a great job adjusting. He was a wonderful Daddy from the second she came along. The cleft didn't seem to phase him at all. Me, on the other hand. I cried for days, weeks, possibly a few months about that cleft. Wondered what I did wrong that caused it, what I could have done differently to prevent it. Filled my head with every worst case scenario and imagined that was what was happening. Latched on to my inability to breast-feed Miss Sunshine and poured all of my angst into that. I cried every time I hooked up that stupid breast pump because that wasn't the way things were supposed to be. While I should have been handling late-night feedings, and having that bonding time with my daughter, I was stuck on a stupid machine, and my husband was getting that time instead. He took over where I could not. It took me months to be able to feed her a bottle without crying over it. Because that was not how I pictured things. I had such an easy nursing relationship with Monster Boy. Even though he was premature, he took right to it like a fish to water. I didn't have to try at all - that boy knew just what he was doing - and as a result, my nursing experience with him was nothing short of perfect. And while I was pregnant with Miss Sunshine, I KNEW, I just knew, that it would be just as simple. That I would even nurse her longer than I did Monster Boy, because I wanted to, because I was determined to, so that is the way it would be. Of course, life rarely turns out how we planned it. And there I was, wanting SO BADLY to have that relationship, with a child who could not, no matter how badly I wanted it. And I didn't deal with it well, I am sad to say. Oh, I resigned myself to it, after a while. I kept on pumping and pumping, and eventually got used to it. Miss Sunshine got exclusively breast milk for the first eight months, and then my supply started dropping, and we had to start supplementing. I tried everything I could think of or find to get that supply back up, but it wasn't happening. So we supplemented, and I kept right on pumping. And I pumped for the first full year of her life. It wasn't what I had wanted, but it was what I had, and I was determined to make the best of it. So I did. With a little help from some little pills, eventually, but hey, it is what it is, and you do what you have to do.

I struggled hard with Postpartum Depression those first few months. And finally, FINALLY, I said, enough is enough, I can't do this on my own. And there was nothing wrong with that. And so I went to my doctor, and I told him the same. And you know what he told me? That he was surprised I'd made it as long as I had. Because, see, he saw me every morning in that hospital after Sunshine was born - every morning, about an hour after Sunshine's first feeding of the day, right as I had finished up quietly sobbing out my heartbreak time and time again.

I won't say "If I had it to do over again..." because, let's be honest - would I want to go through that again? Not in a million years. What I will say is that I am beyond grateful that I have such a wonderful husband, and that, if I didn't get to have that bond with my daughter, that HE got to have that bond with our daughter. She is still a Daddy's Girl, through and through. And I still have my Momma's Boy. And at least I know that we have a loving, healthy relationship with our children.

We have thrown around the idea of having another child. I know Daddy Mac would like one more. I am on the fence -for several reasons, really. I do NOT make a good pregnant woman. Some women out there are made for pregnancy, I know that. I also know, I am not one of them. I get miserably sick, I develop complications right and left... But the BIGGEST reason I am still on the fence? I am TERRIFIED, soul-deep, of going through all of this all over again. Because, see, we have no idea what caused Miss Sunshine's cleft. She does not have Pierre Robin Sequence, which is the most common cause of cleft soft palate. We do not have a family history of clefts, although we do have other mid line birth defects (I have a cousin with spinabifida) in our family. There is no earthly reason the doctors can give us for why our daughter has cleft palate. And, while our chances of it happening again are still reasonably low, they are higher than what they were, and it already happened once. And that is my most secret fear. I don't want to go through the excitement and the planning and the hoping only to be denied it all over again -to have to go through the pumping, and the feedings and the surgeries and the worry... maybe it's selfish of me. Would I love another child any less if it were to have cleft as well? Absolutely not. But I didn't deal very well with it the first time - I'm not too sure how I would deal with it again.

So there you have it - me, in all my humanness. And my feelings about this roller-coaster of a journey we've been through so far.

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