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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Surreality and a Little Update

Every once in a while, it smacks me in the face.  Jenna is real.  She is here and she is real.  Most of the time it feels like she has been with us forever, but some days it feels like she just got here.  Sometimes it's just so surreal...I went through 39 weeks of pregnancy and brought a baby home this time.  A real, living, breathing, smiling baby.   And she is mine. 

Thanks to those of you who commented here or on FB in response to my post about sleep deprivation.  I am happy to report that we started pushing a new sleep schedule the night that I last posted here.  I am mean...I enforced two days of limited daytime sleeping, especially deep (coma-like) sleeping, so she would be tired at bedtime.  We have started a bedtime routine at a set time every night for the last 10 nights; every night but one she has been asleep within 1 hour of start time, sometimes as quick as 15 minutes.  We have had 3 or 4 nights of sleeping straight through for a minimum of 6 hours, and the rest of the nights (except one) she has been up only once to eat during a period of 8-10 hours...and then right back to sleep!  As a result, mama and daddy are much happier campers!!  Jenna seems to be a much happier camper, too.  Instead of waking up screaming in the morning, she babbles to herself for about 20 minutes and saves the screaming for when she feels like we are ignoring her.  But seriously, there is nothing better than being greeted, even in the wee hours of the morning, but a smiling baby.  The only challenge that remains is getting daddy to stick to the routine...he's not a big fan of routine and consistency, even when it's proven to work.

Jenna had her 4 month check-up on Monday the 17th.  She weighed 15 lbs, 3 oz, which puts her in the 80th percentile for weight.  She was 24" long, which puts her in the 39th percentile for length/height. I think they shorted her a little bit on height, though, because she was pretty wiggly on the scale.  She got a few vaccinations, and we were on our way.  No visible sign of teeth yet, but she is definitely chewing on stuff.  Her favorites are toy links and Take-A-Long Taggies toy.  And I love listening as she develops her voice.  It's amazing.  :-)

She is still a really easy baby, all things considered, and I am loving every minute with her!!!

In other rainbow baby business, I want to address moving toward the light.  No, not that light.  A different light.  The rainbow light at the end of the loss tunnel.

I wasn't really sure where to post this, but since it really revolves around rainbow babies, I figured that it was most appropriate to post here.  So many of my BLM friends - some bloggers, some not - are either expecting or at home with brand new rainbows, and so many seem to be struggling with the normal emotions that go with a rainbow pregnancy.  It seems to be especially hard on those who, like me, lost their first baby.  I have tried to offer love and support to each of these friends, and in a couple of instances, I have suggested that the light at the end of the tunnel was getting closer and brighter with each passing day.  In the process of using that phrasing, I think I offended at least one expectant BLM.   

I would like to take one moment to clarify my thinking and rationale in trying to stay focused on the light at the end of the tunnel. We certainly all grieve differently, and have different experiences in our grieving processes.  Likewise, we all have different rainbow experiences; perhaps (emotionally) I had a much easier rainbow experience than others.  I don't know.  Most of the time I feel like my grief with Graice has been like a train on an endless set of railroad tracks.  It keeps moving and moving and moving, uninterrupted by stop signs, traffic jams, etc.  Sometimes it speeds up and sometimes it slows down, but it keeps moving, nonetheless.  It goes over rivers, around mountains and sometimes even through mountain in very long, dark tunnels. I spent a lot of time in the tunnel in the months after Gracie's death.  The closer we got to Jenna's due date, the more petrified I got that things were going to go wrong; but I tried with every fiber of my being to stay focused on the light at the end of my tunnel.  That light was Jenna.  As afraid as I was that something would happen, I knew the only way for me to get through the pregnancy without losing my mind was to stay focused on that light.  Each day, it got a little closer and a little brighter...until suddenly, she was here and I was no longer in the tunnel.  My grief for Gracie will never disappear, and Jenna will never replace what I have lost  In fact, for the rest of my life I will have very regular thoughts about all of the things that we missed with Gracie.  That will be evidence of the fact that the train is still move along those unending tracks, which it will do every day for the rest of my life.  I am sure that there are more tunnels ahead of me, but I hope that most of my travel is through light instead of darkness as I treasure and enjoy Gracie's younger sibling(s) until the day I am reunited with my beautiful first born.

Not sure if any of that makes sense, but there it is. 

In other news, I am having fun with my new blog.  I haven't posted terribly much yet, but I am hoping to get 1-2 posts a week, even if they are just recipes to share!!  Much love to you all, and wishing you all a good rest of the week.


JenJen said...

Life with a new baby gets so much better once the whole family starts to get some consistent and good sleep! I start sleep training with Cooper the moment that he turned 4 months old (so, he was really 2 adjusted) and I never used CIO, either! I used Healthy Sleep Habit, Healthy Child with some Ferber thrown in because I can't buy into CIO. A consistent routine is so important to babies! He's been sleeping through the night for almost a year now and has been on a rather great nap schedule since he was about 6 months old. Wonderful!

I totally get your tunnel analogy and I agree!

Lisette said...

What a beautiful post!

Holly said...

I had some anxiety and fear here or there but I think for the most part too I had a pretty easy experience with my rainbow pregnancy. I mean, I bought things for her, etc and I did expect to bring her home.

I totally get what you are trying to say with the light and I'd have to agree.

I'm glad to hear that Jenna is sleeping better! I bet that's a great relief!