Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Falling in Love with a Stranger

Weeks before Jack was born, maybe even months before, I very clearly remember saying to Stacey, "Does it blow your mind that we are going to meet someone that nobody has ever met before?"

His response was (no offense) so typically male, "Yeah".

It overwhelmed me to think that we'd be the first to lay eyes on a BRAND NEW human being - it still blows my mind! I mean... come on! That's wicked cool! It was, in reality, so much better than I ever dreamed. It wasn't as if Jack came into the world and everything was A-OK, hunky-dorey, no-big-deal. Everything was INCREDIBLE.

I anticipated Jack being immediately placed on my chest after coming out. Unfortunately, his heartrate had dramatically dropped in the birthing canal, so he needed a little warming up, so to speak. I immediately, without even thinking, shrieked with worry - "WHY ISN'T HE CRYING? WHAT IS WRONG?"

And then he was in my arms, pink and making plenty of noise! If my memory serves me right, I introduced myself, cordially, to the only stranger I've ever loved. I smoothed his cheeks and kissed his head, and I told him I loved him right then and there. If you've ever seen me fall in love, you already know it takes a while for a gal like me. Not the case with Jack Harper Rachdorf. The love I have for this amazing boy existed from the moment the little stick turned pink. Jack's Daddy is the love of my life, and Jack is the meaning of life - geez, does it get any better?

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Jack's Law

The First Law of Thermodynamics says that energy - under normal conditions - cannot be created or destroyed, simply transformed from one type of energy to another.

My 5-week old son, SeÑor Fussy Pants, has thus created a blackhole. His father and I live in this blackhole. Like all others of its kind, our blackhole defies all of Nature’s laws, especially those which state energy cannot be destroyed. ‘Destroyed’ would be putting it mildly. Jack has annihilated it completely, yet we crave to be awake with him constantly. It is a magnificently energy-deprived condition of bliss, laughter, coffee (ohh, the coffee), and poopy diapers.

The first night home, I didn’t think I would make it. Literally, I thought I would either die of exhaustion (if that’s possible), or end up judging myself as a bad mother for sleeping through the baby’s awake time. Stacey and I camped out in the living room – which also doubles as a nursery – and combated the thought of drifting off all night. Everything we did only seemed to make Jack more pissed off – nurse him, burp him, soothe him, BEG him to sleep just a wee bit. He and I ended up snuggling on the recliner until the sun rose. It didn’t seem this way at the time, but looking back – it was perfect.
I used to be addicted to sleep. Now, I am addicted to Jack. I wake ten times a night to stare at him sleeping peacefully in his bassinet. Even during Stacey's 4 am shift, when I have the option to stay in bed snoozing the night away, I get up and offer to warm Jack's bottle. It's especially irritating to Stacey when all I do is peep over his shoulder as he changes the baby's diaper.
I can't help it - from the first moment, I couldn't help it. I love him like I've never loved anything. Even if he destroys all the energy in my world, he created this love - and THAT... I just couldn't live without.

Oh, the Horror!

Parenthood is not for intensely vain people. My husband-to-be falls nicely into this category; he’s also incredibly good looking, and conveniently enough, doesn’t have to work hard to remain that way. NOT REALLY THE CASE FOR MOMMY. Ya know that “one teeny stretch mark” I mentioned around 30 weeks? It procreated. Morphed itself across my lower tummy into what can only be described as an act of God. Good Lord, what have I done to deserve these?! I swear, after I turned 23, I became a decent human being, and everything before that was just youthful indiscretion! Please, please take my purple stretchies back to where ever the Hell they came from! I’ll be good!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Life As We Know It

My beautiful baby boy, Jack Harper Rachdorf, is quietly cooing in his sleep. I am enjoying a rare private moment next to him, rocking back and forth in our baby glider, listening to the near-silence in our tiny apartment. Jack occasionally sighs, breaths deep, and if I was watching him right now, I know his eyes would flutter in dreamland. I keep the lights low, the volume down, and the dogs happily calm with biscuits. I take advantage of these moments because, now, I am a mother.

After several days of not-so-silently begging my OB-GYN to "induce me already", he agreed I was a prime candidate for elective induction on the morning of September 24th, 2010. I wake up early - way too early - and wait intently by the phone. I am to call the maternity unit at Littleton Regional Hospital around 5:30 am to see if they have a bed for me - for us! - and when they say they do, Stacey and I are giddy and dancing and altogether elated that today is the day! TODAY IS THE DAY! After months - nearly a year - of waiting and watching Kangaroo grow and stretch and play on the inside, we are going to meet our son or daughter TODAY.

I will happily leave out all the details of the day and evening - suffice to say, it was painful in a way that only other mothers can understand... and I only understand after experiencing it. It's mind-blowing pain, but as my friend Lindsay puts it, "your body understands it". You know this pain, however intense it gets, is not going to kill you. In fact, it is empowering. And after 12 hours and what my fiance refers to as "the hour of darkness", surrounded by friends and family, I was somehow able to see past the pain and bring this bright little boy into the world. It's a boy, and what a boy! 10 pounds, 1.8 ounces of chubby bunny baby boy. Mommy & Daddy are over the moon.

And then we are alone with him, and without a single thought or question, we are parents. We bathe him, change him, feed him, coddle him with enormous, infinite, unending love. We are parents... finally, finally, finally - he is here.

Jack is starting to stir.

He is his father, and - from what I'm told - very much like his father's father, also named Stacey. He has big hands, a button nose, and red hair. He prefers to be naked, albeit his closet is full of designer duds. He hates being put into his car seat, but will almost always fall fast asleep before we are out of the driveway. When he nurses, he makes hilarious snorting noises... very similar to Daddy's midnight snores. He has my color in skin and eyes, perhaps someday he will have my freckles. He is 20 days old and his umbilical nugget refuses to fall off. He cuddles like nobody I've ever known - really digs into you before settling comfortably. He has given us everything; a love without words or conditions.

I hope I can share this blog with him someday - to somehow explain how much he was loved even before he was really here. And now that he is here, how enriched and truly blessed we are to have him. Welcome to the world, my little Kangaroo.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Have I Ever Done ANYTHING For 32 Weeks?

Pregnancy isn’t just turning me into a mother and Stacey into a father – I believe it’s turning us into the adults we always feared we’d be. Only, as I sit here listening to him and Josie (Labrador Retriever) snore along with the Red Sox commentary, I have to say – we’re embracing it.

When this whole thing began, it would have been a lie to represent ourselves as grown-ups. Sure, we paid our bills and taxes and put our time in at our respectively exhaustive jobs, but we did it without real purpose. Actually, let me rephrase – we had purposes, only they were called Veuve Cliquot & Hudson Jeans & Alta ski trips for Daddy. Now our sole purpose is Kangaroo. We eat, drink, think, sleep, live for ‘Roo – right down to the nickel, literally. Before we were prego, Stacey and I were saving for a Mac desktop & a house on the cheap (maybe an icy diamond, too) – currently, those items are on the back burner so we can afford a nice maternity leave for Mama (so excited).

We never used to account for the time we spent outside of work. If he got home at 2 pm and I didn’t get home until 2 am, those hours were thought to be well spent… well deserved. I am sure, in the distant future, history will repeat itself, but for now, we are both typically in bed together by 9. It’s like we’re a normal couple – like our (gasp) parents! More time has been spent in the garden this summer than at a restaurant or bar or BBQ; or we hang out with family members we never used to seem to make the time for. It’s wonderful.

Generally speaking, many of life’s challenges fell by the wayside pre-Kangaroo. We were about as carefree as our personality types allowed. Money tight? Let’s spend the night in Boston at a Sox game. Exhausted after work? Let’s stay out until 1 am with friends at Rosa’s. Feeling sick? Don’t you dare take your vitamins, just wait until it gets bad enough to go to your doctor. Our priorities, while not entirely detrimental, were certainly not straight, and now….well, now they just are.

I am on my third bottle of big mama prenatal vitamins, as well as my third bottle of Black Thorn Body Oil (I still got one teeny stretch mark), and sure enough – my doctor was right – I don’t depend on Tylenol so much anymore, as I am growing accustom to my back pain. Stacey and I love staying home, saving money, and embracing our general health & well being. We realize how important these changes have become, with Kangaroo only 8 weeks away.

Pregnancy has certainly been a challenge for both Stacey and I - a beautiful experience nonetheless, but a challenge. We have accomplished 32 weeks of growth not just together, but as a threesome, and one thing is for sure: we are grown ups now.

Difficulty Increases Desire

At 30 weeks prego, I am carrying a kangaroo about the size of a small elephant. It’s fantastic! I love feeling this little one move around all day, I can’t describe the feeling of watching a little foot or hand glide across the inside of my shiny, round tummy. We are having so much fun together, getting to know the ins and outs of mommy-and-baby life. I think Kangaroo will have her Daddy’s tree trunk legs and strength at soccer, as her kicks are sometimes inflammatory. I’ll be sitting here, minding my own business, and POW! – it takes my breath away. Co-workers have witnessed the mortal combat as we set tables for dinner service, on one occasion, I hollered “HEY IN THERE!” - much to everyone’s humor.

And it is funny. It’s giggle-worthy 90% of the time, without a doubt.

Of course, there have been moments of sheer terror, utter sadness, and physical agony. Like last night.

After a long night of bartending – a task I attempt only one night a week these days – I made my way into bed with a large bowl of freezer burned ice cream. I hoped the soft, cold dish would wear away the headache and ease my over-tempered body into the submission of sleep I’d been longing for throughout the night. Instead, as I set the empty bowl on my nightstand, I felt a sudden but definite urgency that sent me hurrying toward the bathroom – pretty much the only room in the house that provides any veil of privacy.

I cried like a baby. I sat on the toilet and cried like a kid who lost her best bud. I still can’t say exactly what came over me, only relate my reaction to the back & belly pain, the constant muscle achiness in my legs, and overwhelming sense of anxiety over the still 2 and a half months I have to wait to meet my baby.

Returning to the bedroom, I realize how loud I must have been, “What’s wrong, baby?” Stacey’s voice has a sincerity to it that makes me understand what a lucky woman I am.

I said this next line out of sheer self-pity, “I don’t want to be pregnant anymore.”


It’s much more difficult than I ever imagined. Through all these joyous moments that turn you into a parent, you struggle, and for me, I sometimes do it in vain. I am ashamed sometimes of how badly I want it to be over – to adopt all subsequent babies – but I am honest with myself and understand that this has been a hard, long pregnancy.

For all the kangaroo-mommys out there who have done this twice (three, four, or more times), I tip my glass of bubbly grape juice to you. In a hundred years, I could never have imagined the challenge that lay before as my little pink pregnancy test turn to a plus sign. Or the happiness.

I am tempted to call my Mom right now – she gives the best advice – but as a mother-to-be, I can almost hear her words… “Jackie, I am so sorry you are going through this. Every woman does. You are a strong woman! You will be fine. And at the end of all of this, you will forget the hard part and eventually want to do it all over again.”
I am delighted to say I believe my own words in this case, but September 18th can’t come soon enough!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


We are nearing our 28th week of togetherness, Kangaroo and I. As I type this line, I am almost certain a knee or an elbow or some other boney structure is gracefully grazing the inside of my belly, a sensation I can't help but smile at. This time in my life has become so important - so incredibly altering - every single moment is relished...

This includes the incessant back pain I suffer from, the absolute constant jetstream of gas oozing out of my body, and the oh-so-welcomed soft spots of fat appearing all over my body. I love it... everything about this pregnancy has opened me up to a new era of happiness in my life. The love I have developed for Kangaroo over the last few months catches me off guard, as if I should have known all along I would feel this way, but could never have predicted such a swelling of the heart and soul. I am going to be a mother. Amazing.

If my friends and family thought I was a little spacey before this, they should judge me now - I could sit and daydream for hours about my baby. What will she look like? What will her cry sound like? Her laugh? Will she have her Mama's freckles and her Daddy's nose? I hope so. I imagine us cuddling together, always together, and perhaps fervishly strugging through those first challenging weeks as a unit, us two (three if you count Daddy!). I think about it so often, I have even wondered aloud whether her #2 will smell as horrible as my nephew's #2 (I hope not).

Every morning brings an excitement I can not explain, a need for her arrival, and I always think to myself, "Has any mother-to-be ever felt this way - as strongly as I do?" And, of course, they have, but when your own heart beats under your chest with such adament longing, it is difficult to imagine that every mother in the world has felt this exact way. Is there anything more powerful?

On to the next three months! Here's to way too many cookies, pizzas, back massages, baby books, & doctor's visits - here's to us, always together. Kangaroo, Mommy can't wait to meet you!!