Saturday, October 12, 2013

I Should Swaddle Myself

So we just home from a class on Baby Care. You know, where you learn about things like diapering, bathing, swaddling... basic things like how to keep your babies alive after you make it through giving birth. Before I tell you about the class, let me caveat this by telling you I think it was actually a pretty good class. The information the instructor provided was great and a lot of it was helpful things I had never thought of before. In fact, B rated every score on the evaluation form as a "10." The problem is, you are going to hear about the class through my slightly skewed filter. I realize that sarcasm doesn't always come across well in text, so if you are not sure I'm being sarcastic or dramatic, I probably am. Ok, you've been warned...




So, one of my concerns about doing classes at our Birth Center has always been that we would be "that couple" who is not hippie enough, not organic enough, not...whatever enough. Until today, that's never happened. I've always felt so comfortable and had a great time at the classes. Today started out fine. We were learning about post partum care for the family, what is normal for newborns, how to bathe them, etc. And then the instructor asks, "And is anyone circumcising their babies? Note: We had previously learned that all of the couples in the room were having boys. They started on the other side of the room and every single person looks at the instructor as if she'd asked if they were killing Bambi (yes, sarcasm...) and says "No!" And then they get to us. B says "We think so." I decide to be brave and just say, "Yes." She starts throwing questions at me. Who will perform the circumcision? Do they know what they are doing? At what age will you have him circumcised? Have you considered that newborns blood doesn't clot as fast and this is a risk factor? Is this for religious reasons? Holy shit. I feel terrible. I couldn't look at the other people in the class but I'm imagining their polite expressions of horror. As in, these people are going to CUT their little boy. Really, this isn't a decision we made lightly. It was hard and we weren't sure what to decide. But, in the end, this is where we landed. Sooo....move on, right? Except from then on, every time she talked about something...bathing, diapering, being a good parent (yes, I'm kidding!), she would have to stop and caveat whatever she was saying for us. As in, "Oh, except for you guys because...."

Alright, enough about the circumcision. B assures me that, while it was somewhat awkward, it wasn't that bad. But, it put me in a bad mood. Then we start practicing holding babies. You may remember that I always feel uncomfortable holding babies. I watch B pick them up and they just melt against his body like magic and I pick them up and feel like I'm holding a breakable thing that just won't mold itself into a comfortable position. Today I realized that uncomfortableness translates into holding FAKE babies too! Great. So everyone is doing this "football hold" thing, that to me looks extremely insensitive and awkward (I mean, who holds a baby like a football??) and so I'm trying and I'm looking at all these people doing the hold correctly and I don't know where to put the baby's head and I can't even tell if I'm doing it right and then B looks at me and says, "What are you doing? You're holding it backwards..." Great.

And thennnn my hormones just took over. Or something. In the last week, I've definitely been more emotional and moody and the typical pregnant lady stereotype. I really don't think (and B backs me up) that I've been an emotional rollercoaster throughout the rest of this pregnancy. But this week is another story. And it definitely caught up with me during the class. I am starting to feel like there is no way in hell I will be a good mother and all of this is just beyond me and can we just fastforward until the baby is three and I know what to do with him?? I'm also starting to feel claustrophobic and really thirsty and wishing I brought a bottle of water and wondering to myself why B doesn't realize how extremely upset I am (he later told me I seemed very composed and he had no idea).

Then after watching a film on adorable babies that I couldn't appreciate because I was stewing in my poison-mood, we start to learn about swaddling. Now, I have always suspected I may be a disaster at swaddling. People say things like, "Oh it's just like making a burrito!!" Well, I've never successfully wrapped a burrito that didn't explode at the seams. So, we're down on the floor, swaddling babies and of course B is jumping around to help everyone else and teaching them his amazing baby-expertise and one of the girls is commenting on how good he smells (yes, this time I'm serious!) and I am just staring at the baby in front of me and thinking this is like being in Calculus class all over again. So then, B decides to come help his poor wife. But, we're on the floor, I'm having braxton hicks, my bladder is full, my knee is hurting from this stupid hands-and-knees position, and I'm trying to not let my massive breasts fall out of my dress to flash the (super good looking) guy across from me...and so I just give up, halfway through the swaddle. B looks all confused, but has no idea what's going on.

And thennnnn the instructor finishes helping us and proceeds to tell us that, after you have swaddled your baby, you should "prop them up on their sides with two little rolled up blankets so they will sleep better and more soundly." WHAT?!? I literally said that out loud. "What?!? But that goes against EVERYTHING we've been told! You are blowing my mind right now!" And she goes on to explain something about how it doesn't pertain to swaddled babies because the reason we put them on their backs is so they don't roll over or smother themselves, but in a swaddle, they can't move as much, plus they are propped up, but can't get close to the blankets propping them up, sooo...they're safe!! Again, I said, What?!?

And this just seemed too much to me in my emotion-laden state. I stood up, leaving my baby half-swaddled on the ground (see? I'm an awesome Mom), and went to the bathroom, because my full bladder was one thing I could take care of. And guess what? I became a pregnant stereotype. I cried in a public bathroom. Really.

To wrap this up, I made it through the rest of the class, kept it together enough that no one seemed to have any idea (including my husband) that I was losing it on the inside, and that was that. But....what the hell happened to me?? Is this just the stress of the last three weeks catching up with me? Am I having some type of hormonal surge? Am I tapping into some unconscious fears of not being a good enough mother? Excuse me, but what the hell?

So please, someone tell me I'm okay, I'm not crazy, I will get through this and go back to being level-headed AND I will be a good mother whether or not I can swaddle my baby.

15 comments:

  1. Yes. You are okay. You are better than okay. You're just nine months pregnant. It's hard. Acknowledging the transition while having no idea what it will ultimately be like is so hard. The whole thing is just really difficult, both emotionally and physically. But you'll figure it out as you need to. When your baby comes you'll figure out what he needs, what you need and what is best for your little family.

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  2. Oh they can all just fuck off. Anything you need help with (easy swaddling, easy holds) I will help you with in your house with your own stuff, and you will be magnificent. Being a mum has nothing to do with any of this crap, you will adore your baby and that's all that counts. x

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    1. Also, one day I will tell you the story of how I dropped my first (12 week old) patient under the water in the bath... I'm still a qualified paediatric nurse!

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    2. Hahaha...Like I said. I LOVED your comments. Thank you so much ;)

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  3. You are okay! I remember thinking how stupid I felt trying to swaddle and hold the dolls in class. Also, trying to visualize birth in the class. It just didn't work for me! It is very different with your own, live baby.

    How wonderful that you have a husband with mad baby skills!! I think you two will be a great team!

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    1. I agree. I think he'll just be in charge of swaddling from now on ;)

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  4. I agree with everyone else! There is always some degree of awkwardness for some people when it comes to other people's children. And lets be honest...fake babies do not cut it for good practice. They just don't. When it is YOUR baby, it will be different. You have instincts that haven't kicked in yet. You will eventually know your baby's cues and be confident in it. It might take you a little longer than you feel like it should but it WILL happen. :) And don't feel bad about those others. They are making the choice they feel is right, just like you. You're just nice enough to not look at them like they're crazy. :) And yeah, it is pretty awesome that your husband is so confident with kids. That will be a huge help to you. Not all new dads are like that! I know mine won't be!

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    1. Yeah, I'm lucky to have him. Also, he ever-so-calmly pointed out that it really wasn't as bad as I thought and no one was actually looking at me like I was crazy, it was just..."a little awkward." Whatever, he's not pregnant. He doesn't get it ;)

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  5. You are not crazy. I went to a twins breastfeeding class and they gave us dolls to practice different holds and I just couldn't do it. It felt so awkward. It's easier to figure out with your real baby. You will be fine and be less awkward with YOUR baby. I always felt really self-conscious holding other people's babies but feel totally comfortable with mine. You will be fine.
    My husband is the master swaddler. I am not so great. Technically, I can do it but they get out of it pretty quickly. Thankfully, they now make swaddles for idiots so you don't have to figure out how to wrap the blanket. Get Swaddleme or the Miracle blanket. So much easier.

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    1. Oh I so totally have a Miracle Blanket....or a SwaddleMe....or the Aden and Anais version....or all three. I can't remember. But I bought them out of knowledge that I would probably be terrible at swaddling. So I have my back-up plan in place ;)

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  6. I love your slightly skewed sarcastic filter :) you're going to be a great mom, because you are realistic. you realized you can't swaddle (yet), but you'll get it. and if you don't?? no one will care, it won't matter. you'll be awesome at something else instead, like diapering without getting pee'd or poo'd on. now, THAT is a skill!
    and we circ'd jack-mack. he lived. and he has a beautiful little penis :) just sayin'

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    1. Ha!! Good to know he lived and it's beautiful! I'll be sure to tell Owen that before his mini-surgery ;) And thank you for saying I'm realistic. It's something I appreciate in your blog and I hope to keep it going!

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  7. You are totally ok, you are already a good mother, swaddling is a bitch to learn (but super useful), and you will most likely find yourself breaking a lot of safety "rules" just to get the baby to fall asleep. And that is also ok. :)

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  8. I'm sorry you felt judged. For the record, we are totally circumcisizing our kid if we have a boy.

    We have our caring for newborns class starting on Thursday- now i 'm nervous about being able to swaddle! I agree with the other commenters- if you have a swaddle-master in your midst, then use him!

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