Monday, July 21, 2008

Blue

Today Finn is 2 weeks old.

I hate it that I'm feeling sorry for myself, but I am.

Today Michael went back to work. Nancy, our temporary nanny, came over for 4 hours and looked after the older kids so I could spend some time focusing on Finnian, breastfeeding, etc. It was a really big help to have her here . . . but I still felt overwhelmed. I find myself being so short-tempered with the older kids. It really feels like they have conspired together and decided to ignore pretty much everything I tell them, so I repeat myself over and over to them until I find myself losing my temper and yelling. And then I feel like shit.

The breastfeeding is going well, at least logistically. Finnian latches on well and seems to nurse well, and as of today, I've been able to ditch the nipple shields, which means he's taking it straight from the tap and that makes it a lot easier. He was up in the middle of the night and I sat with him for an hour or so. He's starting to have more awake/alert/fussy periods, and it's not always so easy to soothe him. He woke with a dry diaper again this morning. Don't know what to think about that. He had several wet and poopy dipes throughout the day, which I took as a good sign, but Sue came over and weighed him (she also came and weighed him yesterday) and he was the same: 6 lbs. 2 oz. At least he's maintaining his weight, right? But still, I'd feel better if he were gaining. When Michael got home we agreed that he should give him a bottle, for not other reason than to keep him willing to take an occasional bottle. I nursed him first and he still took the entire bottle (about 2 oz.), so that left me feeling like a failure - apparently he's not filling up on what he's getting from me after all.

I should be thrilled that my baby is finally home . . . and I am. But I sometimes wish with all my heart that I was just still pregnant with him . . . that I could go back to the time before all this, before the trip to the ER, before the surgery, before the Down syndrome, before the baby with the feeding issues. I find myself in tears for no good reason a dozen times a day.

I find myself examining Finn and wondering if every little quirky thing about him is a result of the Ds. Where did he get that platinum hair? Then there are his pinky fingers that are curved inward. And the excess space between his first and second toes. His belly button is rather odd-looking too. And of course there is the telltale slight upward slant of his eyes. Sometimes I look at him and he reminds me of a little elf, and it makes me smile. Sometimes I look at him and see all these things and wonder if other people will notice the same things at first glance. And they'll know, or at least wonder. When you have a child with Down syndrome, do you tell people right off the bat, "This is my son, Finn, and he has Down syndrome"? Or do you pretend it's not there? Or do you just let people wonder? I don't even know.

Try as I might, I can't help thinking about the future. Which is silly, because I've been dealt enough blows in this life to understand that the future is the most uncertain thing in the world. But still. What will he be like? What will he be able to do? I don't think he'll ever be able to drive a car. He may have a job at a grocery store or a fast-food joint some day. I can't assume he'll go to college, can I? Will he ever be able to live on his own, or will he spend his adulthood living with us or in some kind of group home? And can an adult with Ds who has the mentality of a child drink a beer? I don't even know. And it makes me very very sad.

10 comments:

Jodi said...

". . . but I still felt overwhelmed."

Lisa, if you didn't feel overwhelmed at this point, I would suspect something was terribly wrong. You just gave birth 14 days ago and you've been to the moon and back emotionally since then.

I think strangers might see those things you mention. I think your family and friends will just see Finn.

Angie said...

ditto to what Jodi said.

and how can you not look into the future, I believe thats totally normal to do Lisa ((((HUGS))))

aud444 said...

What you're going through, well, I just can't imagine. I really appreciate that you're sharing your thoughts with us. Even if you're only doing it to release stress, it's good.

Hey, if possible, cut yourself a break, if only for tonight.

Finn's a lucky little guy. He has five big brothers and sisters that will always be there and look out for him, and two incredible, amazing, parents.

He has an older cousin who'll get to know him, an aunt who will dote (sp)on him to the point of silly, a grandpa who will play games with him, make him laugh, and show him card tricks and on and on.

There are no words I can offer that will comfort you. But what I can tell you is that Finn is LOVED unconditionally.
xoxo

sakun said...

Lisa....hugs hugs hugs...you are not feeling sorry for yourself you had a baby 14 days ago and have been on an emotional roller coaster for 13 days. you need to cut yourself a break. As for the losing of patience with the older kids....who doesn't do that sometimes...come to my house for a day :0)As for what people may wonder about Finn...ditto to what Jodi said.

T-rex said...

I don't know what's it's worth, but possessing a set, myself, I happen to believe bent pinkies and funny belly buttons are a sign of a true genius!

And at both of my main colleges there were DS kids attending normal level classes. I know some of them needed additional help for organization and comprehension (so they had aides) but they were there, and I believe at least one was in the dorms with me.

I am also in agreement with Jodi - being overwhelmed means you haven't shut down and lost your sanity, I consider this a positive sign considering what you and the whole family have been through. Try to cut yourself (and the kids!) some slack - you're doing your very best and if a few scattered outbursts come along with it I'd say it's a small price to pay for life finally being able to inch forward for you.

Larry said...

Hang in there Lisa - and please let the others of us help you with kid care on the days Nancy is not there - so many people are willing to come over and lend a hand - just let us! I yell at my kids all the time when I'm just trying to get the house cleaned and they are interfering or fighting so I would clearly expect you to have outbursts with 5 running around and an infant to care for!

And I only saw Finn when I held him - beautiful, sweet boy, not DS. Love Lisa B.

Carla said...

I can't say it any better than the previous posters. 14 days postpartum is 14 days postpartum, rough all its own. Hugs.

Annah said...

Lisa,
I have not been thru the stress you have....but being 1 week post partum I can tell you that the shortness of temper with the olders you are not alone....I also today wished Tabitha was still in my womb. My anxiety seemed less then. You are doing an amazing job. You know what he needs trust your yourself. Thinking of you and yours.
Annah

Cindy said...

Every mom wants the world to be perfect for their baby. Your concerns are normal - and you are exhausted and scared. All normal. Try to take one moment at a time. Just do your best. Know your friends and Family will be there for love and support when you need.

Sara Rose Tutus said...

"Will he ever be able to live on his own, or will he spend his adulthood living with us or in some kind of group home?"
I know this is far into the future for you, but since you mentioned it, I wanted to respond.
I worked for years as a "drop in counselor" for adults with developmental disabilities. They lived on their own in apartments and worked on their own. I came in for 2-5 hours a week to help with laundry, bills, a bit of cooking. That is all. The rest of the time they were on their own. It is certainly possible that he can lead a full independent life.