He’s Here

On September 2, 2014, at 12:43am, we welcomed our new baby Desmond to the world. He measured 19″ and 7 lbs. 1oz. He was born without a single push on my part!

We are madly in love. Jack met him on his first day of life and said, “This is one of the happiest times of my life!”

Our dog Lambert is channeling Lassie and thinks he should come to Dez’s rescue at the the littlest cry. Lambert even leads David to me when Desmond needs to nurse. We keep trying to tell the dog that we have it covered but he clearly doesn’t think we’re very good at this baby thing.

I’m hoping to get the birth story up soon! Stay tuned!

Gestating Away

This pregnancy is a bit strange, if you ask me.

First of all, I forget about it sometimes. You wouldn’t think that was possible considering that I’m definitely showing and I’ve even felt the baby moving. And of course there is the nausea that hasn’t completely left me alone and also the fatigue. But still, I forget that I’m pregnant and that there will be a baby joining our family this fall.

I can’t quite believe that a baby will be joining our household this fall. It could be the stream of bad luck we’ve had over the past couple of years or my prior miscarriages or my attachment issues. I don’t know. But every time I go into the OB office and see the baby moving around on screen or hear the heartbeat, I am surprised. Really? It’s still there? This isn’t a recording?

See, within a month of discovering I was pregnant for the first time back in 2005, I found out that three others close to me were expecting, as well. As soon as I heard that, I KNEW that one of us would miscarry. It turned out two of us did. This time around I know at least six other pregnant women (and two others who just gave birth within the last month). So it’s probably not entirely strange for me to wonder if we’re all gonna make it out of this okay, right? Or maybe I’m just too morbid for my own good.

I only this week started to gain weight. I definitely look pregnant but due to nausea and getting sick with a sinus infection, I lost weight during the first trimester. As of a couple of days ago, I’d gained back some of the weight I lost and now I’m one whole pound over my pre-pregnancy weight. I’m sure things will escalate quickly from here!

So far I’ve craved cheesy potatoes, fruit smoothies, and salads. Kinda weird – especially the salad thing! I’ve had aversions to most beef (ground beef/hamburgers, of all things, excepted) and have actually preferred chicken (which, pre-pregnancy, would have always been the last thing I preferred due to it’s bland flavor). I haven’t been very good about avoiding the things I am supposed to avoid. I was so good about all of that during my first pregnancy and now I’m just like, meh, it’ll work out. I think Jack has worn out the part of my brain that worries about things that are unlikely to happen.

I feel so much crankier these days, which I don’t remember from my pregnancy with Jack. I have a lot less patience for people and animals. Unfortunately this includes Jack (HOW many times do I need to tell him not to throw himself at me and to keep his knees away from my belly?!), but the upside is that David and Jack are spending more time together and it seems to be really good for both of them. Plus, Jack is not relying on me quite so heavily, which is quite a relief. Sometimes he’ll even go and read a book instead of asking me to entertain him!

Overall being pregnant has been harder than it was eight years ago but it seems to be going by fairly quickly. I’ll be 16 weeks tomorrow! I’m surprised that at this point I’m dealing with things like restless leg syndrome when I lay down and general hip discomfort. The heartburn seems to have started early and I’m still taking frequent trips to the bathroom, which I thought would have let up by now. I’ve heard from a LOT of people that subsequent pregnancies are harder and it’s also more difficult the older you are.

That’s just not cool, man.

We’re going in for the anatomy scan on April 9 and then we should find out the gender. Hopefully then I can feel more comfortable nailing down a name – so far, even though we have two clear front runners, I still keep going through lists and throwing out ideas. To which David sighs and says, “I thought we had names. Are those out now?” Ack, I just don’t knoooow!

Making decisions is hard, yo.

So that’s the latest. I’m sure this is boring for a lot of you but I figured I should document it somehow. Hopefully I’ll get back to writing more and sleeping less now that I’m in the second trimester.

Primary

I never wanted to be a single parent.  I certainly would never have chosen to have a baby on my own – I know what raising a child on your own is like because I was one of three kids my single mom raised.  It has always been very important to me that my child have two parents that contributed equally to raising him.  I didn’t plan for divorce and was convinced it wouldn’t be part of Jack’s life.  Somehow, things didn’t quite turn out the way I thought they would.  Surprising, huh?

To be honest, I’ve felt mostly like a single parent since Jack was born.  At first I thought it was an inherent thing that went along with breastfeeding.  Jack nursed so often and seemed so attached to me – how was it even possible to distribute his care evenly between parents?  Then I was the one washing all the bottles and diapers, cooking dinner, paying bills, putting Jack to bed every night, doing daycare duty, and waking up to comfort him in the middle of the night because I had a shorter commute to work and Joe needed to be rested for school…and I was first in line to take days off when he was sick since I got paid vacation days.  Then there were football Sundays and “I need to get out and hike while there is sun!” days.  I began spending my Sundays with those friends of mine who loved to distract Jack long enough for me to drink a cup of coffee.

When Joe and I went our separate ways, I was actually surprised at how little things changed.  It did free up 3 out of 7 nights of bedtime duty for me.  Other than that, I was still doing all the diaper laundry (until I said I would no longer wash the ones sent with him to his dad’s), responsible for daycare drop off and pick up, and I paid the daycare provider every month, in full, whether the 20% child support check came or not.  I’m still first in line to take a day off when Jack is sick or his daycare is closed; I don’t have the option to say “I can’t.”  So, even though Jack’s dad is very much in his life, I feel like a single parent the majority of the time.

I am sure I contribute to this dynamic in my life.  I always had trouble being assertive in my marriage and I still struggle with this.  I try to avoid conflict, and when it can’t be avoided all of the frustration comes out at one time and isn’t quite productive.  I have thus far avoided getting the state involved in any of the custody and child support issues because I know that Jack’s dad is a good person who is trying to do his best to care for his son.  I know he wishes he could do more and I don’t think it’s fair to cripple him with a wage garnishment order, for instance, when I’m able to make ends meet.

Still, I get tired and have days or weeks where I am at the end of my rope.  I get frustrated that, although I have the lion’s share of responsibilities toward Jack, the times I get to spend with him at home are at the whim of his father’s schedule.  I get upset at myself for ending up in this situation and I wonder if I made the right decisions along the way (did I do the best with the information I had at the time or was I delusional?).  I worry about whether it’s right to lean on David for help and how much responsibility for Jack’s care belongs to him since we live together in a committed relationship.

I know it’s common for parents to go through an adjustment period to figure out division of labor and responsibilities when a child comes into their lives.  Some couples figure out how to balance things and some couples do not.  It gets trickier when there is a divorce and additional parental figures involved; i.e., if I need to work late, who do I call for Jack’s care – the partner I live with or the father who sees Jack only two days a week?  I still don’t know the right answer but it seems to be up to me to figure it out…

Clashing Work Schedules

For those not in the know (because somehow I forgot to write about it before now) Jack’s dad recently took a new job that is an hour south of where he lives, which is about 1.5 hours south of where I live and Jack attends daycare.  The commute to the new job meant that he would no longer be able to participate in daycare pick up or drop off, Jack would be in daycare an extra day, and Joe’s time with Jack would be reduced to only his days off.  Since his days off were Saturday and Sunday, this also meant that Jack and I wouldn’t have weekends together until Joe’s seasonal position ends in June.  Needless to say, I was pretty bummed about that.  I’m pretty burned out after work most days of the week and don’t get a lot of quality time with Jack.

Luckily for all of us, Joe was able to rearrange his new work schedule so that he will be working Sunday through Thursday beginning in March.  We each get a weekend day with our kid to do fun stuff and we can keep Jack out of daycare an extra day (which is great for us moneywise in addition to allowing the munchkin to be with his parents that much more).  Good all around and a huge relief for me!

The only con is I won’t be able to get out of town for a weekend without the kid for a while (since Joe still won’t be able to take Jack to daycare), but that is not unusual for your typical parent anyway.  I can totally handle that.

The One

Excuse me while I get all mushy on you…

Rachel at SingleMomSeeking posted an article recently asking “How do you know if he is The One?”  This question is complex for everyone, I think, but for a single parent there is extra to worry about.  I didn’t know how (or even if) I would date after Joe and I split up, but some friends encouraged me to at least see what was out there after being with the same person for over a decade.  I was nervous about introducing anyone new to Jack, so I decided that I wouldn’t introduce a man to Jack until I knew the person would be a long-term fixture in our lives.

So, before venturing into the world of dating, I spent endless amounts of time thinking and scribbling in my journal, collecting pages of ideas about what type of person I wanted beside me.  I came up with what I called “The Walking Book,” and for those of you who like mushy stuff, here it is:

My mind says his name over and over even when I’m willing it to say something else.  Every little thought that flows through my head, I want to send to him, share with him, and hear his response.  It’s not enough that he hears what I say; the important part to me is what he is going to say in return.

I don’t totally understand the draw.  Sure, we have things in common and enjoy spending time together no matter what we are doing.  But there is something else, something that causes me to wonder what he is doing at any given moment even though I know it’s probably something boring.  He tweaks things just enough to spark my interest, and he always manages to do it just right.

He teaches me and challenges me and talks a lot.  He has as many questions as answers.  He is a safe harbor during rough times, and just as intuitive as I am.

We don’t prop eachother up, but we help eachother out.  It is almost effortless, while with others it would be exhausting.

He doesn’t look like the guys I would normally find attractive.  He’s just as much a contradiction as I am – a complete surprise on the inside.  He grows on me more and more, stronger as time goes by.

Trying to protect myself because I’m in so deep, I try to focus on the bad.  But there is always something to counteract the bad, like his sense of humor and his love of animals, his work ethic and his cooking ability.  He is there when it really matters and he always puts forth his full effort.

He is multi-faceted and interesting and for every little piece of me, there is some piece of him that seems to fit.  Maybe it’s that he seems like an impossibility, that he is a million people all crammed into one, and totally unassuming.  That in itself is intriguing.

When I’m with him, it feels like time is going at a different speed and we’re inside our own little story.  And strangely, I remember more than I forget.

He is my favorite book: he has a fabulous cover, but it doesn’t do the inside justice.  He always has something new to offer that I didn’t notice before.  The well-known parts of him are a comfort and the new things are exciting.  Maybe there are some things that could have been written differently, but ultimately he’s a masterpiece and my appreciation is endless.

About 6 weeks after writing that, I went on my first date with David.

A year and a half later, I’m still amazed at how well that describes him and us together.  It feels like we’ve been together our whole lives. That’s the only way I can think to describe the level of comfort we have with one another. Meeting David was like finding a missing puzzle piece in the puzzle of my life.

On top of the strength of our relationship, David and Jack have developed a wonderful bond.  David took a lot of time to figure out what my parenting philosophies were, watch how I interact with my son, and learn what Jack was all about.  He sees the parts of Jack that are an extension of me but loves Jack as a unique little person, as well.  David is more than just a romantic partner and friend, he is also one of Jack’s parents.  Prior to meeting him, I never dared to hope that Jack and I would be that lucky.

Oh yes, he is The One.