Thursday, October 27, 2011

Happy Now, Happy Forever

I've been struggling.  That's something I have a hard time admitting in real life.  But it's true.  Weaning Bean has stirred up a lot of emotions, and it took me awhile to figure it all out.  I'm sure that part of what I was feeling had to do with hormones that were out of whack in my body.  Some of it had to do with feelings that I wasn't entirely in control.  I felt like my choice to wean Bean, was only partially my choice.  If I wasn't infertile and I thought I could get pregnant again quickly and easily, would I have weaned Bean when I did?  Probably not.  I realized that I was feeling really angry toward infertility again.  Angry that it was somewhat controlling my life and my relationship with Bean.  I was angry that I had to take something away from her that made her happy.  Angry that I couldn't explain to her all the reasons why, and angry that the reason I weaned her, could end up not happening.  We could try to have another baby and fail.  And then will I regret my decision to wean before Bean seemed to be ready?  Potentially.  All of this was bouncing around in my head and heart.  I was sad, and mad, and kind of a mess.

Then I realized that I was facing the core decision that we make as parents everyday.  Do I help Bean be happy now, or do I make the tough choices to try and help her be happy forever?  It is easy, in certain ways, to give in to all the little things that make her happy, and at this age, that might not be so bad.  But as she gets older, there are going to be more and more things she wants, places she wants to go, friends she wants to have, and so on.  Not all of these things are going to be good for her, and I'm going to have to make the unpopular choices and put my foot down.  I'm going to have to take away a little of what she perceives as her happiness now, to try and ensure her happiness for the future.  And I'm okay with that. I know that's part of the parenthood gig, and both hubby and I have a very good appreciation of that from our own childhoods.  We are very happy now and attribute that, in part, to good decisions that the way our parents raised us influenced.

It took me a few days to realize that weaning Bean fit into this scenario.  She is happy when she nurses.  I still think about the last time she nursed and my heart almost breaks.  It brings tears to my eyes every time.  We had moved her bedtime feeding until before her bath, and Hubby was reading her books while she nursed.  She was laughing at something in the book and the look on her face was just of pure joy.  I was struggling so much with the feeling that I took that away from her.  Then I started thinking about why I did that.  Obviously, she was going to have to wean eventually, but I was hoping to wait for more cues from her that she was ready.  The hope though, is that by pushing her before she was ready, we'll be able to start the process of trying for another baby.  A sibling for her.  Which has a lot of question marks.  We might not be successful and Bean may be an only child.  Or we might be successful and she and her sibling may not have the kind of relationship we dream of.  Our hope though, our dream, is that Bean will have at least one sibling so that when we're gone, she'll still have family.  That they will have a strong relationship full of love.  That their lives will be strengthened and enhanced by each other.  That they will make each other happy forever.

So it's a bit of a gamble, but now that I can see it all in black and white, I don't feel so sad anymore.  I still miss nursing Bean and I can tell she misses it too.  That hurts me sometimes.  More so though, I'm focusing on the hope that we have laying ahead of us.  For the first time, I've had to take away something big that really makes Bean happy, but I have the opportunity to potentially give her something so much bigger.  I want the sun and the moon and the stars for her, and any other baby we might have.  I'm okay with taking away a few months more of her happiness for that.  For years, lifetimes of happiness.  Plus I'm already starting to see her settle in to our new routines and I'm finding new ways to make her feel safe and loved.  She makes me so very happy, and I hope that all the choices I make give that back to her.  She deserves all of that, and so much more.

Friday, October 21, 2011

All done?

Well, Bean's in bed and for the first time in her life, I didn't nurse her at all today.  In the last few days we moved her night-time feeding to before her bath.  Today I offered her a smoothie (milk mixed with a little yogurt) instead and while she was very torn, and really wanted both, after she tasted the smoothie, she stuck with that.  Obviously she's not going to get a smoothie before bed every night, but hopefully it will help in the transition.

This was a really hard process and I feel like I should be celebrating with a big glass of wine or something. Instead I just feel kind of sad.  I know this is the right time and I know that in the end it will be the best thing for her.  It makes me sad that she still loves it so much and we stopped it, and I think I realized today that I still loved it more then I was willing to admit.  It was our time together.  Precious moments when I got to stare at a beautiful little face that was blissfully happy.  I know we'll have more special things and lots of blissful moments, but it's harder to let go then I realized it would be.

I hope it's not too hard from here on out though.  I hope the next few days help us all move on and start the next chapter.  I hope that sleepy times in this house get happier again.  And I'm going to spend the next few hours before bed reminding myself how lucky I am to have experienced this at all, let alone for almost 18 months.  When I started nursing Bean I said I'd be happy if I made it to 6 months, and then to a year, and now here we are at almost a year and a half.  I am very blessed, and I do know that, even if my heart is a little heavy tonight.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


I was vacuuming the nursery last night.  Bean's room.  The carpet in there is super plush so when you're done vacuuming it, you leave footprints wherever you step.  It's some of the only original carpet that we kept in the house after we moved in.  It's gray, which isn't my favorite color (I think it's kind of cold), but we were already trying for a baby when we moved in here and that room was earmarked for the nursery.  When you imagine the kind of floor that your baby is going to be rolling all over, taking their first steps on, and possibly trying to climb out of their crib and face planting on, that's the kind of carpet you imagine.  So soft, so thick.

When I first started vacuuming that room there was just a box spring and a mattress on the floor.  It was our second guest room, even though our first guest room was hardly ever used.  One of those rooms really should have been an office, but I didn't want to setup an office and then have to change it into a guest room if we got pregnant.  So we setup the guest room and stuck our extra mattress and box spring on the floor in there.  The room was an ugly color, but I didn't want to paint.  I just left it alone.  And then we got pregnant.  Hubby was away on business when we found out.  He brought back a teeny tiny t-shirt for our future little one and I hung it in the closet in that room.  About a week later I miscarried.  Then next thing I knew we had been in the house for a year and that room still hadn't changed.

It was the sad room.  It looked sad, it felt sad.  The door was always closed.  It was always cold in there.  I hated going in.  I rarely did.  And then I just couldn't take it anymore.  I wasn't working, I had quit because of all the doctors appointments and the stress that I was under at work.  I was home alone with the sad room.  So I went and bought some paint, a color that I would be happy with as a guest room, nursery, or whatever lay ahead.  I bought a bed frame, new sheets, a bookcase.  It became a proper room.  A room that I liked to be in.  I used to go in and lay on the bed and think about what it might become.

Whenever I used to vacuum that room though, no matter what was in it, I always vacuumed from the back corner out.  That way when I was done the carpet was perfect.  There were no marks, no footprints.  It was like nobody had ever been there and it was just waiting, plush and perfect for you to sink in when you really needed to.  When you needed to feel like the world was slightly bubble wrapped.  Which back then was often.  After we found out Bean was coming that room changed a lot, but I still vacuumed it the same.  Even after she was born.  I just wanted to keep that cushion there, perfectly waiting for her.

Last night for the first time I realized how differently I vacuum in there now.  Firstly, it doesn't happen very often.  Bean is afraid of the vacuum.  My hubby tried to tell her it was a little cow when she was in love with cows, and that it just mooed really loud.  So now she calls it a "moo" but she's still afraid of it.  Last night she was taking a bath when I was vacuuming.  So I was going really fast, just trying to  get it done.  And there were footprints everywhere.  I'm not trying to keep that room pristine anymore because it isn't mine to keep.  I kept it special, and safe, and soft for years.  But now it's Beans.  Even if I left the carpet perfect, her little feet wouldn't care.  They would go flying in after her bath, with the kind of happy run that only naked babies seem to be able to replicate.

It isn't very often anymore that I think about what that room used to be.  The sad days.  Sometimes I happen upon that little t-shirt that hubby bought for our first baby hanging in the back of the closet.  I can't seem to add it to Bean's clothes.  It's the only thing that actually belonged to our first little one and it feels like it should stay that way.  Then I remember how sad that room used to make me feel, when I was mourning something I thought I might never have.  Now I mostly just think about that rooms future.  I'll sit in there with Bean late at night and imagine what it will be like if we have another baby.  I redecorate the room across the hall in my head for Bean and imagine the little changes we'll do to make the nursery new and fresh.  It's easier to be in the dreaming phase this time around.  I know there could be a lot of sadness ahead, but I know it won't be like it was then.  Because no matter what happens, we have one little set of footprints all over that carpet.

Sunday, October 9, 2011


Friday night I nursed Bean before bed and tried to enjoy every second, thinking it would be the last time that I ever did it.  Well, I was wrong.  Friday, out of nowhere, Bean started revolting against her nap.  She wouldn't let me rock her, she wouldn't sleep in her crib, she didn't want to nap, but boy was she tired.  She played in her crib for awhile, but if I left she got very upset.  I had no idea what to do so we spent an hour going back and forth from glider to crib and back again before she finally fell asleep in the glider with me.  I didn't think too much of it until it started again on Saturday.  I got her down for a nap much quicker Saturday, but it made me start to worry.  I was worried about the same thing happening at bedtime.  We had this grand plan to focus on helping her get to sleep on her own after she was weaned, but she seemed to be forcing our hand.  I started to panic a bit.  We're still not sure exactly how we're going to move forward in the sleep department.  We know what we don't want to do, but we thought we had more time to work on what exactly we were going to do.  Apparently Bean had other ideas.  So I spent the next few hours on Saturday being quite crabby (my poor hubby) as I worried about what was going to happen, if we were rushing the weaning, if I was doing the right thing, etc.

When I started weaning Bean I felt totally confident and am sure that's why things went relatively well.  I did not feel confident yesterday.  So I called it off.  I realized that I need to feel good going into our first night without nursing.  I need to feel like I know what I'm doing and that it's the right thing to do, and I'm just not sure right now.  I'm a planner, and I need a plan.  So that's what I'm working on.  So far in her life, Bean has let us know when she's ready for the next big step.  I can feel that kind of change in the air, I know it's coming, but for now, we're going to hold off on completely weaning while we try some new things at nap time, that we can hopefully use at bedtime as well once Bean is weaned.  So that's the story.  I failed and I feel completely okay with it.  I know it will happen and I'm not going to move forward unless I feel good about it.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

A Quick Update

Thanks to everyone for the words of encouragement.  We're down to just one feeding a day and I can't quite believe it.  The first night that I dropped the middle of the night nursing, Bean was pretty upset and was up for two and a half hours.  I stuck with it though and the next night she didn't even wake up!  I knew that was too good to be true and it hasn't happened again, but she hasn't been sad about not nursing at night, so I think we're really making progress.  My goal is to drop the last feeding this weekend and we'll be done.

I have to admit that there's a little part of me that's kind of sad about all this.  Breastfeeding has been so easy and special for us, I feel so very lucky.  I kind of expected my body to stink at this just like it has everything else baby related, but it has done an amazing job.  I know that we're incredibly lucky and I breastfed Bean for much longer then I had ever planned.  This is just another one of those milestones though that reminds me that she's growing and changing before our eyes.  She's becoming more and more of a big girl everyday and while I love every second of it, it's just going by so fast.  So I'm going to hold her close every night this week and enjoy the end of a very special time in our lives.  Hopefully it will keep going relatively smoothly.  It just breaks my heart to have her so sad, and know that I could fix it if I really wanted to.  I just have to keep in mind that we have to do this eventually and now feels like the right time.  Ready or not, our little Bean isn't a baby anymore.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Finding our way

Well, it's been almost a week and we've officially dropped our nap time nursing.  It went better then I expected and I'm ready to take on the next one, although it will mean less sleep for me, which will be tough to take.  I guess what I'm having a hard time with is that Bean used to love getting ready for a nap or for bed, and now she's not anymore.  She used to run to her nursery and climb into the glider for us to snuggle, and now she fusses and says she's tired but doesn't want to get ready for her nap.  I've tried switching our routine around, making her warm sippies of milk (which I discovered that she HATES), cuddling in the glider with her favorite books and lovies, anything that I can think of to make her feel happy, and so far no luck.  I need to figure out a new routine that works for us, and the sooner the better.  So we'll see what I can come up with next.

One of the really nice things about this week was that I allowed myself to push aside all of my other responsibilities and focus solely on Bean.  I tried to make each morning filled with fun activities to both tire her out and make her happy for nap time.  We had so much fun and I realized that it really isn't that difficult to find these little fun things to sneak into our day.  I just have to stop sometimes and postpone a trip to the grocery store or forget about something that needs washing or cleaning and make time for it.  We actually spent an hour at the pet store this week which made both Bean and Pup Pup very happy.

And in the middle of all of our outings, there were a few moments where my heart nearly burst.  The biggest being the most simple.  I was walking in an outdoor shopping center with Bean.  She was holding my hand and we were walking down the sidewalk.  I looked down at her, at this amazing little girl who is growing and changing so much everyday, and I realized that she's mine.  She's my baby girl.  And I nearly lost it.  The dream that I had for so long and fought so hard for is here, with five little sticky fingers clutching my hand and firmly wrapped around my heart.  I am so blessed and so in love.  I will always remember that moment, so simple, but so special.  And that's what's going to keep me going when I'm up at 4 am with a very unhappy little girl who just wants to nurse and go back to sleep.  We can get through this, we will get through this, and maybe the journey actually isn't so bad.