Sibling Introduction

When I found out I was pregnant in March 2013, I was a little worried about how my oldest would feel about the baby.  Will he feel jealous, resentful, or hatred?  Will he feel that the baby will take his place?  I waited until my belly started to show before I mentioned to my oldest (who was about twenty three months at the time) that there was a baby inside of me.  I don’t think he totally understood what a baby was or why it was inside of me but he was happy about it maybe because mama and daddy were happy about it. My oldest was kissing my belly a lot especially when it grew and he would hug my belly.  I kept telling him the name of the baby and my oldest would say his name.  I would say, “Where’s the baby?” He would point or put his hands on my belly.  I’m thinking, he’s affectionate now wait until the baby is here. 

When my second son was born, my husband brought my oldest up to see the baby.  My oldest saw this little baby and he didn’t seem excited or sad.  He was more curious but standoffish.  He seen his dad and grandmamma coddling and showing so much love to the baby he didn’t know if he should come near to see the baby too or to stay away.  My husband and I made sure that we included him with the bonding of his baby brother but we didn’t force the issue.  He looked at the baby then tried to get attention from myself, his father, and grandmamma.  When we got home with the baby, it was different for the family and my oldest.  Like I said he was curious but cautious.  I would invite the oldest into his baby brother’s room to look at him, to touch him, and to hold him.  Sometimes he was into it other times, especially when the baby would cry, he would go to his room to play by himself.

I started having my oldest helping me with the baby like getting his diaper or getting my nursing pillow to nurse his brother.  I would assist in holding his brother, have him spot him in tummy time, help burp him, and assist me with giving his brother his vitamin D medicine.

After a couple of weeks of making him apart of taking care of his brother, my oldest started to see his little brother as his baby.  He would want to hold him, play with him, talk to him, and hug him.  He would say good night to him.  My oldest became so affectionate with his little brother sometimes I worry that he would hug him too hard or be so close to his face that he might hurt him accidentally.  I’m grateful that my oldest love his baby brother so much. As my oldest son bonded more with his younger brother, my infant son adores his older brother and would smile and coo when he sees him.

 It’s so amazing that the boys get along so well.  I think it’s my oldest sons temperament helped eased his transition of being a big brother that made loving his little brother so much easier.  I think it’s important to get the siblings involved when a new baby arrives. I believe the bonding should start as soon as possible so the other sibling won’t feel like their being pushed aside or replaced.  It makes the children feel important and they have a role in the family that they can strive for.  I can just hope that their brotherly bond continues into adulthood and they continue to look out for each other. 

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Early Morning Cry

Last night I had a wonderful sleep.  I haven’t slept like that since maybe before my third trimester with my infant son.  My infant son actually slept. Not for three or four hours.  Not five or six hours. He actually slept for ten hours.  I actually got up to go to the bathroom twice without as much as a peep out of the little guy.  Of course I had to check to make sure he was breathing because he would usually stir, cough or something if he heard the door open. When the second time I came back from the bathroom around three thirty in the morning, I was sure he was going to wake up.  He moved a little but went back to sleep.  Could it be that I can get to sleep a good eight hours this night?  I was so overjoyed of the possibility of getting a good night sleep. This was too good to be true. 

I heard a loud cry in my sleep.  I wasn’t sure if I was dreaming but I swore I heard my older son cry “Mama, Daddy, Go Pee Pee.” through the monitor.  There was this one time I thought I heard him say Mama through the monitor and I dreamt about me getting up to go to his room.  My husband was standing by his room door as I was about to give him his cup of water and cereal bar; but I never entered his room.  I woke up and looked at the monitor to find he was still asleep. That was a weird dream. 

Anyway, I heard him screaming “Mama, Daddy, Go Pee Pee” about two more times before I forced myself awake.  I got up and sprinted to his room to find that my husband got him.  My husband was trying to tell him to go to the potty.  My oldest son did not move.  It’s like he was confused in what to do.  We put a diaper on him at night so he won’t wet the bed because he not night trained but is potty trained during the day.  I came to him and leaned towards him to feel his diaper.  The diaper felt warm like he just peed.  My son has a potty in his room and knows how to go to the potty if need be but since we didn’t have a night light in his room, I figured it was dark and couldn’t find it.

My husband went back to bed as I took my oldest into the bathroom to see if he had to pee some more. I went into his room prior to going to the bathroom to get a diaper to put on him when he goes back to bed.  He didn’t even try to pee but insisted that I put the diaper on him.  I put the diaper on him and I led him to his room.  I told him that I will put a night light in his room the next night and if he had to go potty that he will see it in the light so he can go.  I tuck him in bed and he turned on his Baby Einstein music mobile on and smiled.  Everything seemed ok.  I went back to bed but didn’t go back to sleep right away.  My mind was racing.  Should I put the night light in now?  Why was he panicking like that? Did he have a bad dream? Is he ready for potty training at night?  Is he really alright?  What else could I have done?  These questions plagued me for about thirty minutes until I calmed my mind down and drifted off to sleep as the light began to break.

About thirty or so minutes after I fell back to sleep, my son cry out, “Mama, Daddy you awake!”  “Mama, Daddy you awake!”  He was screaming at the top of his lung. I knew he wasn’t about to go back to sleep, so I got his cereal bar and a cup of water for him to drank; hey just like the dream I dreamt a couple nights back go figure. I turned his bedroom light on, sat his cup of water, cereal bar and got some pistachio nuts  on his table for him to snack on.  I made him go to the bathroom too.  He had a lot more pee in him.  I think he was too frightened to pee the first time so he held it.  I told him that daddy will come and get him a little later (my husband usually spent some time with him before he goes to work which gives me time to rest more if needed).  My son was fine then. 

I don’t know if he is going through a regression phase like separation anxiety but it scared the hell out of me.  It’s scary being so little and independent in some ways but realize that you’re still dependent on others.  I know he’ll get through this.  On other note, I’m grateful I got as much sleep as I did but for me to expect eight hours of sleep with an infant son and a toddler to look afterward, I must have been delusional. Hey, a girl can dream right?

 

Diagnosis: Diastasis Recti

During my last trimester with my second son, I had experience severe back pains.  In my mind, I thought it was the normal progression of pregnancy.  But these back pains were extreme.  I had to sleep upright on the couch with a bunch of pillows propping me up and a pillow between my legs.  As the due date neared, I had to sleep sitting up with my legs propped on a chair or just sitting up in the couch.  When I went to my midwife for my pregnancy visits, I told her about the extreme back pain, mostly located on my right side near the tail bone.  She felt the position of the baby and said that the baby was facing forward and the back of his head was towards my spine.  So I figured that the pain was coming from the baby head pressing on a nerve in my back.

When I delivered my son, I noticed that my back pain was better but wasn’t totally gone.  I thought that if the baby was pressing on my nerve in my back that the pain would be completely gone.  I figured that my body needed time to heal so the back pain might take a while to heal as well.  When I came home from the hospital, I was moving kind of funny.  My back was hurting but also my hip joints were stiff.  I don’t remember this happening with my oldest son but every pregnancy is different. 

I needed to get some rest because I didn’t sleep much the two nights in the hospital and I was exhausted.  My mother in law was over to help out and watched the baby until baby wake to feed again while my husband watched our oldest son. I lay in the bed.  The bed felt hard and cold and it hurt my hip laying on my left side. I also had to put a pillow between my legs again because closing my legs completely would hurt my right hip. We have a tempurpedic mattress and it was cold in the bedroom so I contributed the hardest of the bed to that.  The bed would regulate with the warmth of my body temperature and my body should feel fine.  I fell asleep. 

In about two hours in my sleep, I tried to roll over to my right side and experienced the most excruciating pain I ever experienced in my life. “Awwwwww!” I shouted out loud as I tried to roll over to my right side again holding my hand on my back. It felt like a sharp pain shooting up my spine.  I couldn’t move.  It felt like I was paralyzed. In order for me to move to my right side, I had to use my arms to lift my upper body to a sitting position and slowly use my hands while sitting up to turn my lower body over to lay on my right side. When I  lean my leg over to the right side, my hips would stiffen and have a numbing pain in them. This was a scary feeling to be paralyzed even for a few seconds.  I tried lying straight on my back as well.  If I try to move my legs, my back would stiffen and I would have a sharp pain in my back 

After the days that followed, I couldn’t sit on the floor without the fear that I wouldn’t be able to get back up because of my back and hip pains.  I would still sleep on the couch with pillows propping up my back and a pillow between my legs to elevate my hip pain.  I couldn’t play with my oldest son on the floor like we use to and it was hard picking up  and putting my new born son down in his crib and play pen.  I started doing stretches to help with the pain but it wasn’t enough.  Walking was becoming a problem and I was holding my back a lot so much so that my oldest son would copy me.  He would hold his back and says, “My back, my back.”  I didn’t realize I was saying that so much.

At my eight week postpartum appointment, I told my midwife about my back and hip pains.  She figured that I need to do some abdomen exercises to strength those muscles but first she did a checkup on me.  I lay back on the examining table and she looked at my belly.  Then she told me to do a mini sit up.  When I did a mini sit up, she noticed a bulge in my stomach. She said that I had Diastasis Recti. If you’re not familiar with Diastasis Recti (DR) is a separation between the left and right side of the rectus abdominis muscle, which covers the front surface of the belly area. My midwife told me DR developed because I had my children too close together and I’m going to need physical therapy to correct it. If I don’t get it corrected, there’s a chance that I can develop an umbilical hernia. With the fear of developing a hernia, I called the Physical Therapist right away.

 

 
On January 16. 2014, I started physical therapy.  I was evaluated by doing some strength exercises to pinpoint exactly where the pain in my back and hips were and if the pain was caused by the Diastasis Recti. With the pain in my lower back and my hip pains and also having a weak pelvic floor, the diagnosis of Diastasis Recti was correct. The physical therapy now has to see how wide my DR was.  At the time it was a 3-3-2 which meant above my belly button the gap was three fingers width wide, three finger width wide at the belly button, and two finger width wide below my belly button.  She had me feel the gap with my fingers and I couldn’t believe that there was a gap was that big.  I was told by the physical therapist that my DR was severe because it should be a two finger gap or less.  But on the bright side, the physical therapist seen women with DR who she could put her whole fist in their stomach so I guess I should be thankful. She gave me some exercises to start with to help close the gap.  All I kept thinking was how I’m going to incorporate exercise in my schedule when I’m dealing with an energetic toddler and a fussy baby.  Will I have time to do these exercises?  

I started to do these exercise at night after the baby slept.  But with him waking up sometimes twenty minutes after I put him down, it doesn’t give me enough time to do the exercises. About the time I get him settled again I’m too tired to continue the exercises.  I tired to do them during the afternoon while the children were awake.  Either the baby need to be fed or changed once I start the exercise or my toddler wants to jump on my back, my leg, or if I’m on my hands and knees doing an exercise, he want to crawl under me.  So I had to figure something out. I started feeding the baby and making sure he didn’t need to be change before I start my exercises.  I either have him on his Sassy’s activity mat on the floor to play with or I put the activity mat in the crib and he plays in there if I thought he was sleepy. With my oldest son, I started to implement quiet time where his in his room for an hour while I do my exercise or if he’s in his baby brother’s room with me he helps me count the reps I do with each exercise.  If I’m doing arm stretches, I have my oldest son high five me to make the exercise more fun. 

As I write this, I no longer have to go to physical therapy.  My belly is a 2-2-0. I also started wearing a postpartum binder that helps with my back pain and closing the gap.  I have to continue with the exercises and check my belly in a month to see if the gap closes even more.  My hip pain cease and my pelvic floor is getting stronger. I’m starting to feel like I’m getting my body back again. I can pick up my infant son and put him down in his crib without too much stress on my back and I can get on the floor and play with my toddler.  Thanks to the Physical Therapy at Good Shepherd Penn Partners in Philadelphia, PAfor helping me to correct my DR so I can focus on being a mother to my children instead of my hip and back pain. Now I can focus on how my children are a pain in my butt.

Teething Season

The first three months of my infant son’s life was an interesting one.  My infant son had the cradle cap, baby eczema, and baby acne all at one time.    Having those skin conditions at the same time must have been tough for him.  Wonder why he looked so grumpy.  The acne disappeared, the cradle cap is almost vanished and he still has a little eczema which is manageable.  He started to sleep for longer periods of time, sometimes five to six hour stretches for about two to three days straight.  I was thinking, “Soon these stretches will last longer in the months to come and then I can sleep in my bedroom again.”  But about when my infant son was three and a half months, he started waking up every two hours again.  I chalked it up to a growth spur.  I also notice that he kept biting his hands like he was hungry.  He would do that even after he nursed. 

 The following morning after I nursed my infant son, I took him and my oldest son downstairs to eat breakfast. I laid my infant son on his back in his play pen.  I got my oldest son’s plate and took out some fruit to cut up for him.  I was about to toast some English muffins when my infant son started crying.  I checked his diaper. He needed to be changed.  I changed him on the side table and then put him back down.  I went back to cut the English muffin and put it in the toaster.  My infant son started crying again.  I checked his diaper again.  He wasn’t wet this time.  I pick him up to see if he needed to be burped.  He didn’t need to burp.  I figured he must be sleepy.  I put him in his swing.  The crying continued.  I noticed he kept biting his hands. I stopped the swing and picked him up.  When I picked him up, he bends his head and bit his hand that was on my shoulder.  As his head came up, I noticed a lot of drool coming out of his month.  “Oh no! Is this happening already?  Is it that time again?” It’s Teething Season.

“You’re teething”, I said to my infant son confirming to myself what I already knew to be true.  I guess saying it out loud made it truer.  At this point, I started to remember how my oldest son was when he started teething.  “Nooooooo!”  I thought to myself.  My oldest son teething experience was a nightmare.  It seemed like my oldest was in so much pain that at times I would have to give him infant Acetaminophen or ibroprophen to make the teething pain go away. 

The few days that followed, my infant son would go down to sleep at night then about an hour to two hours later, he would wake up biting his hands.  I dealt with this long enough so that Saturday; I got some baby Orajel Naturals Calming and Soothing.  Now I knew that this didn’t work for my oldest when he was teething, why did I get it this time?  Well, I didn’t want to get the regular Baby Orajel because of the fear of his throat becoming numb. If he couldn’t swallow and have acid reflux, he might suffocate. Orajel recommended use at four months but since he was a week shy of being four months and it’s suppose to be natural, it shouldn’t hurt him. So I tried it and guess what?  It didn’t work well.  The pain would stop maybe twenty to thirty minutes then he would be gnawing his hands again.  So I tried it again for about two days during the day hours and when I put him down to sleep for the night.  The Orajel Natural didn’t work.  Am I the only mother that use this product and it didn’t work for their child? 

It started to get hard to put my infant son down at night. I really don’t like to give my children any medicine because I don’t want them to become dependent on it but my little guy was in so much discomfort and was sleeping about six to seven hours a night I had to do it.  I gave him some infant acetaminophen.  I rubbed a little bit on his gums.  After about an hour, he seem to calm down and went to sleep.  He slept about three hours straight that night and then on and off every two hours before waking up officially in the morning.  If my infant son’s teething experience is anything like my oldest son was, I’m in for a long season.  I remember there were painful periods, mild periods, and periods of teething that seems like their not teething at all.  Then the cycle starts again…for every single, freaking tooth that comes in.  I am not looking forward to this teething season.  I just have to weather the storm.  I did it before right?

Somebody help me!

To be daddy for a day

Sometimes I wish I was my husband.  No, I don’t wish to be a man.  I don’t wish to have the financial burden on my shoulders and the responsibility to be the leader of the household.  I’m talking about the freedom that my husband has when it comes to taking care of the kids. 

My husband is a hard working man.  He will do what he has to do to provide for our family and to make sure we have everything we need.  But the one thing that my husband has that I don’t is a way to escape the kids.  If he doesn’t feel like dealing with the kids, he can hand them off to me.  His favorite line when he wants to get away from our toddler is, “Go to mama.”  Now mama usually is doing something like loading the dishwasher, nursing the baby, or just sitting down to eat her food finally. It never fails.  Not even a couple of minutes to myself, my husband would send my oldest to me. 

I don’t want to think that my husband takes advantage of the fact that I’m there, but I think he takes advantage that I’m there…well subconsciously anyway.  My husband can come home from a day of work, goes upstairs to his man cave to unwind and decompress and then come down to chill with us.  I can’t do that.  I’m dealing with a toddler that shouting at me when he wants something, him telling me no all the time, occasionally temper tantrum meltdowns, and him running around screaming and chasing after the dog. I’m also dealing with our infant son who started teething and will cry relentlessly because he peed or hungry or gassy or something.  I would be lucky to get a break when I go to the bathroom.  On weekends, my husband can sleep in late, eat breakfast when he wants to and escape to his cave. I still have to get up, feed the kids, play with the kids, and to make sure that the kids mental, physical, social, and emotional needs are met.

Ah, to be daddy for a day.  To have someone else take care of the kids and I can make guest appearances with the family when I feel like it.  Then when I get tired or bored, I can go and take a break for a couple of hours in my cave.  To get up at ten o’clock in the morning on the weekends, to take an uninterrupted shower, eat breakfast, do something I want to do. To have dinner ready for me for once so I can relax on the weekends.  Just to have time with my thoughts…quiet time. 

I wonder if the mother in me would allow me to have such free time.  Would I worry about the kids?  Would the person who is taking care of my kids would feed them, play with them, or read to them like I would?  Would I check up my kids because I secretly miss them?  Honestly, I probably would do all those things because I would miss them a lot. I probably would not know what to do with myself if I had the time to spare.  I’m not asking for much, maybe a couple of hours or a half a day of me time once in a while.  I need to allow myself that time to recharge so I can be a better mother for my children.  How can I do that when the mother inside won’t let me enjoy myself?  Maybe one day Vanessa.  Maybe one day.

Quality Time

It’s story time!  This is my favorite part of the day.  It’s the part of the day when I know that my first born is about to go to bed after a long day of driving me crazy, but it’s the part where I think I spend the most quality time with him.  Sometimes I feel bad for my oldest son because he doesn’t get to spend a lot of time with me like he use to since his baby brother was born three months ago.  But he’s been a really good sport about sharing me with his brother. 

My oldest son, my infant son, and I sat on the couch in his brother’s room.  He picks up the book called Treasury of Classic Stories published by Parragon.  His favorite story in the book is Chicken Licken.  “Read Chicken Licken,” he says to me.  My son repeats the title of the story at least three more times as I turn the pages of the book to find the story.  I guess I wasn’t turning the pages fast enough for him. 

As I started reading the story, my infant son starts to squirm. So I tried to reposition him hoping that he wouldn’t start crying until the end of the story.  I was a page away from the end of the story when my infant begins crying.  I thought to myself, “I can get through this story before the crying gets really bad.”  The thing is that I want to give my oldest son some time with me to bond.  I love to read him stories because I enjoy reading them and he enjoys listening to them. 

So I finished the story but my son wants me to read it again.  I was about to read it again when my infant son started whaling.  I told my oldest that I had to change his brother before reading the story again.  I think he understood but I can’t help to think that I’m interrupting his time with me to tend to his brother. After I finished changing my youngest, I sat back down to continue reading.  Then my youngest started crying again.  “He must be hungry.”  I thought.  So, I position the baby on the breastfeeding pillow and maneuver the book so it wouldn’t hit his head.  I gave my baby the breast and tried to continue reading.  My oldest is so fascinated when I nurse his brother that he would put his head near his brother and make cooing noise like he’s nursing too.  It makes me uncomfortable when he does this and I tell him to give mama some space.  Also, my oldest would get too close and accidentally bump his brother’s head with his. 

I tried to get my oldest to focus on the book but his wasn’t having it.  Every time I started to read, he would look at his brother nursing and try to touch my breast. By this time, their father entered the room. I gave my oldest a warning to stop and let his brother nurse or I will close the book.  So he did it again. I got frustrated and closed the book.  Then my oldest whined, REEEEEEAAAAD!  I explained to him why I stopped reading the book.  My oldest was upset.  I felt bad but then I had to be firm with him to let him know that I was serious.  Once he knows I was serious, he went to play with his father.  A couple of minutes later, I gave my infant son to his father and my oldest climb onto the couch and hugged me.  He was getting sleepy.  I gave him a kiss and a hug back.  Then his head lay on my shoulder and he went to sleep still hugging me. 

I tried to wake him because if I didn’t wake him in time, he would pee on himself.  Now, this is the time when my husband would take my oldest downstairs to feed the dog and let the dog out before going to bed.  My husband was enjoying himself with the baby and I was enjoying myself holding my oldest in my arms.  It was a rare occasion that he would fall asleep in my arms.  I knew there would be a possibility that he may pee on me but for some reason, I didn’t want to wake him.  It brings me back to the time when I use to nurse him to sleep when he was an infant.  I guess the quality time was mostly for my sake instead of my sons.  When my husband finally decided to wake our son up and tried walk him to the door, my oldest came back to me and wanted to sleep on me. When my oldest came back, I felt loved, needed and would of let him laid his head on me for as long as I could. When will I ever get a moment like that again? Finally, my husband got him moving when I realized that he did pee on himself and on me.

I know I should have waked my son up.  Maybe I needed that hug from my son to make me feel better as a mom.  To make me believe that although I was spending more time with my youngest son, that I haven’t totally negligent my oldest son. When he came back to me when he woke up the first time, it felt like he really missed me. Yes, I was being selfish in not waking my son up and didn’t care if I got peed on because truth is told, I miss him too.   

Pee Pee Mission

I woke up with a strong urgent to pee.  I listen to my infant son snoring in his crib.  He should be sound asleep after barely taking a nap the day before because he was teething. He was also waking up every hour an a half after I put him down last night to suck on my nipple not just to feed but to use them as a teething toy as well. My little one should be exhausted.  I sat up a little hoping when I move that my little one doesn’t startle awake because he sense that I’m up. 

“Whew” I said to myself. So I think the coast is clear for me to attempt to go to the bathroom.  I looked at the time.  Wait.  Oh no! It was six thirty in the morning.  “Shit” I said to myself.  “What if the other one is waking up or even worse…awake?”  “Can I get pass him without him coming to his bedroom door crying to be let out?”  I can hold it.  It’s only for a couple more hours. I can wait. I reached over to the window ceil to get the baby monitor to see if my oldest son is awake. Yes, it looks like he’s still asleep.  He would usually turn his Baby Einstein caterpillar mobile on with the flashing light and music if he’s awake in his bed. Should I risk waking him? I decided I couldn’t hold it. 

I begin to slowly get up from the couch and crept towards the door in the darken room.  I tripped over a toy, my oldest son’s tractor trailer truck. “Damn it!”  I whispered and then looked over to my infant son while standing very still hoping the he didn’t hear the noise.  He starts to stir.  Then he settles down.  I slowly turn the knob and open the door.  The door creak and squeaked.  He did not stir.  This is great! Now all I need to do is to quietly make it down the hall, go pee silently, and then quietly make it back to my little ones bedroom, close his door quietly, creep slowly back to the couch without tripping over any toys and lay down hoping that I can get an hour more of sleep.

I start down the hall to the bathroom.  I have to go pass my oldest son’s room to get to the bathroom.  I tried to quietly make it down the hall.  But there were some floor boards squeaking along the way even though I walked closest to the wall.  I make it to the bathroom.  I carefully put the toilet seat down and quietly peed.  I don’t attempt to close the bathroom door since it makes a squeaking noise and a scraping noise on the floor.  That would surely wake up my son.  I didn’t bother to run the water to wash my hands.  I have Purell in my infant son’s room I can use. I flushed the toilet.

 “MAMA.” 

“What was that?  Oh no! Is he awake?”  I paused in the bathroom and peeked my head out the door to listen.  Dee dee da dee dee da dee dee. The music mobile is on. So I quietly left the bathroom and trotted down the hall on my tippy toes as fast as I could like I was jumping over imaginary puddles of water and went into the room of my infant son and gently close the door.  I hope my oldest was dreaming, thought he heard me go to the bathroom and he’ll fall back to sleep.

“MAMA! MAMA!” my oldest son cried and begins to whine.  He cried so loudly that when I heard it from the baby monitor, it sounded like I had the volume on high but I had the volume setting on low.  Then my infant hears his brother crying through the monitor and he wakes up crying.

Ugh. Missionfailed.