Thursday, January 17, 2013

Life Story Part 10: Guilt Baby

At the suggestion of Courtney, I have written my life stories. This is one of the last ones. What a great experience it has been. The details I forgot have come back to memory and while it has been hard to revisit, I can see the importance. Try this life-writing stuff. It's cleansing. 

Life Story Part 1 HERE

Life Story Part 2 HERE

Life Story Part 3 HERE

Life Story Part 4 HERE

Life Story Part 5 HERE

Life Story Part 6 HERE

Life Story Part 7 HERE

Life Story Part 8 HERE

Life Story Part 9 HERE

Life Story Part 10: Guilt Baby
In January of 2010, we moved out of my parent’s basement and into a cozy little house in a cul-de-sac in Lehi, right by Utah Lake. The house was perfect. A wide, open floor plan, a big backyard and really great neighbors. We were ready to reestablish ourselves and climb out of the dark place we had been in the years before.

It was a joy to make a home again. I unpacked boxes of our things that had been in storage for over a year. All of my kitchen things and my decor. I felt like a little girl playing house, setting things up and making spaces. A lot of that could be credited to nesting, because I was about 20 weeks pregnant with Violet when we moved in.

I had felt I needed to get pregnant again when Van was about 6 months old. I felt that way for a long time before I did get pregnant. For some reason, we needed our girl here. When I did get pregnant, Ethan began his drug withdrawal and I started to feel so irresponsible for wanting to get pregnant so badly. The timing was all wrong. Ethan wasn’t healthy, we didn’t have a place to live and I surely didn’t want to bring her home to my parent’s house. I started really not wanting my baby to come out. And then I would feel guilty for feeling that way. And on top of it, I was dreading having to try and nurse again. I had been horrible at it with my boys and I didn’t want to experience that again. The combination of the stress of feeding her and feeling guilty for not wanting her haunted me during my entire pregnancy.

On top of the guilt, my pregnancy with Violet was my most uncomfortable. My back and my hips were truly unbearable. After month 7, I would cry almost every night when I went to bed. No luscious hair or glowing skin like I had with Van. I looked like a bit of a train wreck the whole time.

In the first months of living in our Lehi house, we started to feel normal again. Ethan was feeling healthy and he looked it and his business was slowly growing. I was enjoying our lives coming back together after having been sort of a mess for a while.

On May 9 of 2010, on Mother’s Day, I delivered Violet Caroline. And once again, her delivery was quick and uncomplicated. My doctor had said I should have 3 more babies because I am so good at it. As the doctor and nurses were cleaning up after the delivery, they encouraged me to hold Violet, but something was wrong and I didn’t want her. I started to shake really badly and I couldn’t hold her. I offered her to Ethan and my sister Megan who had attended the birth. As the hours went on, the shaking got worse and then heart palpitations started. I could see my heart beating through my hospital gown. All through this, I didn’t want to hold Violet, because if I held her, I was going to have to feed her. About 4 hours after Vi was born, the doctor ordered an EKG. Later, the results showed that I was having an anxiety attack. And I figured out it was because I was afraid to nurse her. Ridiculous.

Once my mom came to the hospital the next morning, I told her of my fears of nursing and not being able to do it. She talked some sense into me and said, “What is better? Nursing your baby, being uncomfortable, nervous, unfamiliar and stressed. Or bottle-feeding and be comfortable, calm, familiar and soothing?” Once she said that, it was a no-brainer. From that moment on, Violet was a bottle-fed baby and I never looked back or regretted that decision.  

Violet was a lot like Van as a newborn. She was easy to calm, loved her swing and slept a lot. My guilt of having a baby was gone when I saw how she fit right into our family. Ethan needed a baby to hold and to sleep on his chest at night. Jack needed to feel the responsibility of being a big brother. And Van needed to start being more independent.

While Violet was a great, easy baby, she also rocked my boat. Going from two and three kids was pretty intense. Van was especially curious and took any window of time to ransack the bathroom or pour out any liquid he could get his hands on. Jack was still figuring out his independence and limits and he would constantly leave the neighborhood while I was feeding Violet on the couch and I wouldn’t be able to find him for hours. I felt like I couldn’t get a moment’s peace. For about 6 months, my life was a continuous pile of things undone. And I hated that. That summer after she was born will always go down as my biggest failure. We didn’t do a single fun, summery thing that year. But in summers in later years, I made up for it and my kids never knew the difference.

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