Monday, September 2, 2013

one month post birth: the uprettiest and most beautiful thing

This is my post birth story.  I will warn you on this one, too.  It may be TMI for the people that didn't know that post birth involves nursing and mastitis and breast pumps and pads.  

Moo.  Every once in a while I hear a cow mooing.  The acoustics in my neighborhood make it sound like he is right outside my window.  And when I hear them, I'm like, "Right back at ya."  New babies mean milk.  Lot's and lot's of milk.  

I guess I already showed that giving birth is not always the prettiest thing.  
But at the same time, it is the most beautiful thing.  

Now I will tell you that bringing baby home, and making sure he thrives, and recovering from birth are not always the prettiest thing.
But at the same time, it is the most beautiful thing.

This is the photo that I chose for Makoa's announcement.  I was drawn to the photo that didn't really show the red rings around the iris of his eyes , or the bruise up in the corner of his eyelid, or the red dots all over, or his yellow skin and eyes, or his skinny legs and ribs that poked out.  I didn't want to show any of that.  I especially didn't want to show that when he was awake, he mostly looked like an old man.  And let's face it, most babies do.  I chose this photo because it is sweet, and he looks just about perfect...
...Even though most of the time he looked more like this... yellow, wrinkled, skinny, dotty, and his head was kind of a weird shape.  
I chose the perfect pictures because here's the thing... In the stress of things, I didn't realize how soon things would change.  

Four days after Makoa was born, we took him into the pediatrician where we learned that he wasn't gaining weight, he had a staph infection (all the little dots on his skin), and he had jaundice (his yellow skin).   It was kind of a lot to take in all once.   

We had to get him weighed everyday.  The midwives finally just left the scale at my house so I could weigh him daily.  The pediatrician gave me this fancy tube on a syringe thing to help me feed him more while he nursed.  We supplemented with bottles of milk that I pumped.    

Karl took Makoa down to the clinic every day for five days where they would prick Makoa's heel to draw blood to get his bilirubin count.  We had to put Makoa in sunlight to help bring those counts down.  Here he is on my desk, so he could get the last bit of sunlight of the day.  

At one point, one pediatrician said we need to definitely check him in to the hospital and that going to Oahu was a possibility.  
I panicked.  I cried.  Karl called and go second and third opinions.  
Turns out, there was no need to panic.  
But I still called my mom.  And she hopped on a plane.  She couldn't stay long because she   is a shop owner now and is all kinds of busy.  

But it was just enough to make me delicious food.  And spoil my kids.  And let me push the mental reset button because we just weren't getting a break.  
I'm telling you, good food makes everything better.  Well, at least for me.  

Because before we knew it, skin cleared up, bilirubin counts went down, his started gaining weight, and we got to enjoy Makoa without daily weigh ins and heel pricks.  

I did my very very best to savor the teensy stage.  Ooooh, I loved it so much, especially after I finished panicking.  I loooooved laying in my room with tiny Makoa. 
Makoa kai, he seems to be fitting right in to our family.  

Eva, Samuel, and Maximus have been greater than I could have ever hoped.  Makoa brought a little bit of peace into our house.  I often find myself amazed at the people that they are becoming.  

Yes, the reality is still that it took a lot of shouting and bribing to get a single photo of the four of them.  And it took about 18 photos to get one that kinda worked.  But maybe that's the way it's going to be for a while.  It's going to take a lot of work and lots of tries to get it.  

Who does he look like?  I don't know.  I look at him and all I can see is Makoa.  Who is he most like?  I don't know that either.  
He eats like a champ, he likes to keep his back arched (the only time he relaxes enough to cuddle is when he is asleep), he squeaks a lot in his sleep, when he is awake, he wiggles the whole time, he doesn't spit up much but can burp like a frat boy, he looks suprised a lot (the kids call it crazy eyes) and for a while I did think he was always surprised until I finally decided it is just his eye shape (how could one kid be surprised that much?  Even at this family, right?), he grabs a lot (my hair, his own hair...), grunts when the milk doesn't come fast enough (like I feel like doing when my food doesn't come fast enough), and now?  He seems to be growing like a weed. It's so beautiful just to watch him grow.  I have a feeling I will be in awe of the person he turns out to be, too.  

Ya, so I feel like a cow.  Girls, as far as I know, never want to feel like a cow.  I don't like milk. Not cow milk. Not even the kind they get from tiny almond nipples (tee hee).  Not even my own.  And how about when I get mastitis and husband giggles and reminisces about his days working on a dairy farm and that all he knows about mastitis is when the cows would get it, they had to put iodine on them.  Girls, as far as I know, don't really like to remind you of your days working on the dairy farm.  

That 's the unpretty part of my story.  Or how about when I find myself arguing with the toddler that the pads that I was using post birth were not, in fact, diapers because you have trying to convince toddler for the last few weeks that diapers are for babies and big kids need underwear not diapers. 
"Mommy's diaper."
"No, it's not a diaper."
"Mommy's diaper."
"No, it's not a diaper."

Repeat about 5 times. 
And finally, 
"Okay, fine.  Mommy's diaper."

Yes, that is so unpretty.  

Or how about me trying to not to use the breast pump when the kids are around because I was too sensitive at the time to handle one more joke about it looking like the canned air horns?  

Or how about the fact that every time my milk lets down at random times I think of Keven Malone fake baby crying trying to get Pam's milk to let down?

Or how about the fact that we are still figuring out timing and by the time I get dinner ready, it is time for baby to eat and when baby wants to eat and mom wants to eat at the same time, baby wins.  Every time.  

But the beautiful parts.  Oooh, the beautiful parts.  You don't know how many times I wished I didn't have to do anything every again exept watch little Makoa sleep. And I think if I watch close enough, I can actually see him plump up and grow and grow.  Because it is happening that fast.  
This was just the first month.  And even though I just spent a lot of this post telling about the unpretty parts, I'm here to tell you that there are so so many beautiful parts, too.  

I think you need the unpretty parts to make the story great.  I love the photos of too skinny, scary eyed, crying Makoa.  It's part of his story.  Just like the chubby cheeked (he's chubby now), smiling, sweetly sleeping photos are part of his story, too.  

I feel so lucky to be a part of his story.  And I feel so so so grateful that he is a part of mine.  



pamela said...

such a lovely post. you are a great photographer, by the way.

Heather said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Adri said...

Awwwhhh... love all your photos and your kids are so cute! I just have one question how are you so skinny with such a young baby. Not fair!!!

farm girl said...

beautiful post as always! gorgeous gorgeous family you have...


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