October, 2011 Archive

What A Dad Loves

by Bryan Friedman in Daddy's Corner

I’ve been a dad for exactly two months now, and thanks to my amazingly talented writer of a wife, you know that so much has already happened. In just these two short months I’ve learned so much. Yes, I’ve learned a lot about babies and parenting and diapers and bottles, but I’ve learned a lot about myself too.

Becoming a dad fulfills a dream for me and so far it truly has been an amazing experience. Although we’ve had a bit of a tumultuous ride if you look at things from a certain angle, I think that having a child seriously makes you put things into perspective and view everything that happens in a bit of a different light. It’s funny — I’ve hardly stayed angry or felt negative about much of anything for more than a few minutes. One look at Madelyn’s face, even if she’s crying, makes me wonder what there really is to be upset about.

It all sounds cliche and perhaps a bit too rosy, but for me, so far, it’s true. What I’ve loved about being a dad so far are all the moments I get to observe and the family time I get to enjoy. Here are the things I’ve grown to love in my early tenure as a father…

Watching Alison Be A Mom
One of the things I was excited about throughout the whole pregnancy was the chance to see my wife become a mother. Watching the woman I love transform into the mother she has become has not disappointed. To see her in action truly inspires me. It’s really amazing to watch those mom instincts kick in as she tackles a diaper rash, picks out an outfit or rushes to feed the baby. When I walk in on her holding Madelyn, rocking or bouncing with her and singing songs to her…well, I pretty much just completely melt. If it’s possible to “fall in love with someone all over again,” I think I probably have fallen in love with Alison again about ten times in the past month alone. Plus, I don’t care what she says, she’s never been sexier to me than she is now. (Okay, maybe on our wedding night…)


Taking Care Of My Family
For the first few weeks of our parenthood, during Alison’s rough recovery and the tough nights taking care of both her and the baby, I sort of had to go on autopilot. I was doing so much during that time that when I look back at it, I am seriously not even sure how I was able to do it. I guess it was my own dad instincts that helped me get through it. (Well, that, and also some seriously super grandparents!) Anyway, I’m happy to have gone through that experience because it helped me become a calm and confident parent. Now that I’m back at work and Alison and I are both running at full capacity, it’s such an enjoyable experience…even when it gets crazy and insane. Alison and I have always made a great marriage team but now to share in parenting duties as a team, I can honestly say I’d put us up against any other parents any day of the week. 😉 It’s fun when we just get into that mode where we barely have to talk to each other but we are reading each other’s minds and we orchestrate a diaper change or a feeding together. I think we may be more efficient at getting out of the house with Madelyn now than we ever were at getting out of the house just the two of us. It is really some kind of awesome.

IMG_7621Photo by Sara Marie Photography

Coming Home From Work
After three weeks of being home just after the birth, I finally had to go back to work. I had originally planned for three weeks just because I was lucky enough to be able to take that much, but it turned out I really needed all of that time. I was not too happy about going back, but luckily we had fallen into something of a routine so I felt okay leaving Alison at home…it was just that I didn’t want to miss anything! So of course, there is nothing like walking in the door around 6pm to discover what state things are in. Sometimes Princeton runs to me to greet me and I come in to see a calm household with Alison quietly enjoying Madelyn. Other times Princeton runs to me for help as if to say, “Make the chaos stop please,” and I hear the screaming upstairs where I find Alison wrangling with a tough diaper change or some squirmy tummy time. Either way it’s a lovely surprise for me — I join the peace or help calm the crazy.

Taking Pictures
You already know I feel it’s my duty to document this kid’s life story. She changes so much every day and every moment is so fleeting it seems impossible to keep up. This commercial practically made me cry when I first saw it on television for exactly that reason. I just feel like I can never get quite the right picture like I want. I wish I could capture more moments and make every picture better. Still, I guess I’ve been doing a pretty good job so far.


Sharing Experiences
Getting to share all these new parenting and baby experiences with Alison is of course a huge thrill. But it’s even more fun to watch so many of our close friends go through the same experiences at almost exactly the same time. We have at least a dozen friends that are experiencing the first few months of either their first or second baby, and it’s so fun to “network” with them…people we’ve known for what seems like forever, and we are now all having kids. It’s so crazy.

Spending Time With Madelyn
It’s pretty neat how quickly you get to know your child. Within a few weeks we already figured out what Madelyn liked and what would help her sleep. (Of course, we had a little help from Dr. Karp.) Even when I’m annoyed at 4am when she starts to wimper as if to say “Okay guys, I’m hungry now,” or when I’m just about dressed with hands washed and sooooooo tired at 4:05am when she is wailing like “Why the *$&^*% aren’t you guys feeding me already?,” once I get in the room and pick her up, I just don’t really care what time it is anymore. Then there’re those evenings when I sit by her crib and soothe her to sleep…I feel so victorious when I get her to finally fall! So rewarding! And of course those mornings, right after feeding her, when I bring her in to hang out with the whole family and she coos and stares at the ceiling fan after Princeton tries to lick her and give her even more love than we do. I mean these are the moments. I love it.

Daddy and Madelyn

  1. Ellen/Grandma
    10/10/2011 7:17 AM

    It’s been pretty amazing watching you, Bry. You are a natural. Who knew? So proud!

Healing A Wound

by Alison Friedman in Mommy's Musings, Stupid Infection

Today is Yom Kippur. This Jewish holiday marks the beginning of a clean slate for the new year. On Yom Kippur, we are supposed to right our wrongs and forgive those who have let us down. I’m not sure I’ll be able to wholly forgive and forget my rocky start to my postpartum experience, but as my physical wound heals, so must my emotional wound. It’s time I concentrate on what matters now instead of dwelling on the past.

Some women have difficult pregnancies. Some women have bumpy labors. I’m a woman who had green lights on the whole baby mama highway, but after Madelyn was born, I crashed into a rail, tumbled over a cliff, and rolled into a murky water. It’s been a very difficult ride for me due to the infection I got in the hospital that was dismissed and negated by the on-call physician, Dr. Shlub. For weeks, I couldn’t hold my daughter due to the pain at my fresh incision and I missed out on crucial bonding time. I know Madelyn was in great hands while I was absent and healing, and she will never know of any suffering, but I know I was cheated out of my experience. That hurts more than my open wound.

I’m not breastfeeding. This is a tough subject for me because I always planned on nursing my baby. I was breastfed and I’ve always heard my mom tell me what an awesome experience it was. I was so looking forward to developing that similar relationship with Madelyn. We had our rough moments starting out as most mothers and new babies do, but we finally got our groove on! It was fabulous. We were flowing and she was filling. Chug chug chug and then, bam! Infection and pain up the wazoo. No nursing position was comfortable. I was awake every two to three hours to feed while I was trying to heal. My energy was at a zero and my motivation went kaput. I didn’t want to quit and really had no intentions to, but my doctor told me that healing should be my first priority and if I was in pain or feeling stress from my incision infection while nursing, it wasn’t healthy for either of us. She gave me permission to stop, and after a lot of deliberation, I did. I needed to become healthy because I was no good to Madelyn if I wasn’t.

With every drop of leaked milk on its way out of me, I cried. And cried and cried. I knew breast milk was the best milk for my daughter — at least that’s what I’d always heard — and doesn’t every mom want the best for her children? Some women choose not to breastfeed and I support that just as much as I support those who do. I’m not a lactivist. I was just a mom looking for a unique experience and to provide the best I could for Madelyn. At this point, the best thing for Madelyn was a healthy mom and food any way she could get it. The pediatrician recommended a formula and that hungry little baby gulped it down. She never knew the difference and she was a happy camper. She continued to gain weight and was thriving just fine. Of course, that’s all I cared and still care about. Grow, little Madelyn, grow!

But I mourned. I still do. I looked in the mirror at myself and would think, “I failed me.” My blood boils and my ears resemble an angry, steaming Donald Duck when I think about what could have been. Sure, I might have been exhausted and annoyed about nursing around the clock or submitting myself to the “whoosh whoosh” of the boob juicer, but I never expected it to be a breeze or any sort of convenience. Instead, as I get my six hours of sleep and whip out a bottle of shaken-not-stirred, cow’s milk goodness in a public place, I rejoice in the ease of feeding, but I sulk in the absence of providing. Yes, I know, I’m still providing. Our hard-earned dollars are providing cans of powder via Diapers.com and Babies R Us, but it was ME who wanted to provide. ME. Not my credit card.

And then there’s the guilt. I did nothing wrong, so why do I feel guilt? Why does breastfeeding have to carry such a heavy stigma of guilt or shame when it’s not practiced? And don’t get me started on the jealousy! I see babies attached to their mothers, and I feel like I’ve been kicked in the stomach. Not a hard violent kick. Just a breathlessness of sorts and then my stomach turns and aches. It’s beautiful and I’m thrilled for their relationship — really, I am! — but I still wish I had that, too. All I have to do, though, is look over at my happy baby and it’s fine. It’s fine, it’s fine, it’s fine! Deep breaths. Leveled.

I went on Celexa. I’m still taking it. Dr. Fiiiine thought it would be the best thing for me and I agree. I’m not ashamed of it and that shit works (no, the sales rep did not take me to lunch or shower me with theater tickets for the endorsement). Hormones + shitty recovery from an infected c-section incision = happy pills. I’m feeling better now and I don’t cry eighty-seven times a day so that’s definitely a good indication that there’s something to the drug. I also know that my wound is healing well and I’m no longer in pain 24/7. Madelyn is the cutest baby to ever exist on this planet and my husband is the most awesome father. Things are on the way up. Thanks to the pill? Nah. The pill just allowed me to see this. Forest. Trees. That whole thing. I’m not sure how long I’ll be on it. I’ll admit, I’m afraid to find out what it feels like to be off of it, but I think it will probably be okay. Once the home care nurse stops coming to my house and Dr. Fiiiine has declared me healed, we’ll talk about weaning. I’m in no hurry, but I also don’t want to be on it forever. I’m just taking it, literally, one day at a time. Eventually, postpartum depression has to become past postpartum depression.

So, I know hate is a strong word, but I think I’d still use it in the same sentence to describe my feelings about Dr. Shlub. Without hesitation, I dump all the blame on him for stomping all over my woulda-shoulda-coulda after Madelyn arrived. But I also know that isn’t going to get me anywhere. Which brings me back to Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year. This has really been my holiest year… period. I’m not kidding. I have a c-section hole below my belly button where my baby came out and it’s still open. It’s closing, though, little by little thanks to the daily medical care I’ve been receiving since August 19th. Dr. Fiiiine says we probably have just a few more weeks of packing the wound before we can call it a day. Or, approximately 80 days. I’m promising myself that when it’s closed, and my crooked abdominal scar is complete, I will stop looking back with such sadness and resentment and try to realize that I’m stronger for overcoming extreme hurdles.

Forgive on Yom Kippur? Ehhh, not really ready to do that. Forget? No, not happening either. Start anew with a fresh outlook? That I can do.

  1. Aunt Pattie
    10/9/2011 1:47 PM

    You certainly did have a rough start with your baby girl! I think I’d print this and send to Dr Schlub and make him realize what his lazy ass caused a new mommy!!

  2. 10/8/2011 10:58 PM

    Honest and awesome post, Alison. I am in total awe of your strength. You seriously rock.

Sleeping and Snuggling

by Alison Friedman in Marvelous Madelyn, Mommy's Musings, Princeton

It’s been a while since Born Friedman was last updated. The site is more like Sleepy Friedman. Ooops! Wake up, Blog! Time for action!

Things have been busy around here as we are all figuring out our routine. Bryan is back to work and I’m mobile now, so the bubble of bringing-home-baby has popped and we’re livin’ life.

I hate to say it because I know it’s going to jinx everything, but Madelyn is, like, THE easiest baby ever. She should make a career of being a baby. She’s just so good at it! She’s a rockstar sleeper and is now snoozing away in her own crib. It was hard for me to say goodbye to her sleeping in our bedroom because it was a tiny benchmark that meant she’s growing up! But she’s taken to her crib well and once she starts to sleep, she stays asleep. It must be very tiring to be a baby because all she does is sleep! Madelyn also likes to sleep in her swing, her bouncer, and her bassinet, so she’s a very versatile sleeper. If she were a dwarf, she would definitely be Sleepy. Come Thanksgiving, she’s going to have us all beat with the turkey’s tryptophan side effects. Rip Van Winkle, you have competition.

Photo by Sara Marie Photography

Whenever Madelyn isn’t sleeping, she’s eating. And if she’s not eating, then she’s cranky! She rarely cries, but when she does, she means business! It’s taken some time, but I’ve figured out ways to calm her in a trial and error sort of way. She loves motion! I have a feeling this girl is going to be a thrill seeker or roller coaster fan. She likes to be rocked back and forth in her glider (Mommy likes it, too. Super comfy!) or bounced on my lap as I up-and-down on an exercise ball. I better get a terrific tushie from this activity! When that’s not enough, I sing to her! We’ve developed quite a repertoire of songs already. Sometimes we use inspiration from a Shirley Temple station on Pandora or sometimes we go basic with a capella tunes. Songs Madelyn likes: “Tomorrow” from Annie, “My Favorite Things” from The Sound of Music, “Over the Rainbow” from The Wizard of Oz, and “When You Wish Upon A Star” from Pinocchio. When she hears these melodies, she becomes fixated like she’s in a trance. Either that, or she’s trying to mentally escape my 3 a.m. singing voice…

During the day, Madelyn is my sidekick as we run errands, veg at home, or meet friends for lunch. We’re having a great time and we love when Daddy comes home. Bryan relaxes with her or feeds her so he definitely gets his Madelyn time after a day away at work.

And where’s Princeton in all this? He’s still reigning the bed, snuggling with us on the couch, and joining us in the car. No worries. Madelyn’s big brother is very involved and I even think he has a soft spot in his heart for her. I love that my children get along famously.

  1. 10/9/2011 6:30 AM

    Amazing! Madelyn is so cute! I think she’s really one of a kind 🙂 I really enjoyed reading all about Madelyn, especially the part that she loves sleeping a lot 🙂 Most babies sleeps most of the time but also cries a lot sometimes 🙂 Thanks for sharing about Madelyn, she’s adorable. I could imagine how really nice it is to have a baby girl as pretty and cute as Madelyn. I really enjoyed a lot reading your article, and btw, thanks for sharing those nice photos of her 🙂 I hope you’ll update us as she grows 🙂 Looking forward to it 🙂

  2. Sarah
    10/6/2011 11:17 PM

    Cutest baby puppy pics!!!!!