Wednesday, August 27, 2008

First Time Parenting

Although I became a parent in my mid-thirties I always knew I would be a good mother. I had practical experience with babies – I started babysitting for family when I was 10 – back in the days when latch-key children were common and trust was instilled in precocious children. In this day and age a 10 year old caring for a newborn would probably be seen as some sort of neglect but I did my job responsibly and efficiently and managed to keep my charge from harm.

I can also remember holding a newborn baby in church as a teenager. I felt such joy and looked forward to the day when I would be holding my own child. Little did I know then that my day would come 20 years later. With my life experiences out of the way and all of the boxes checked – college, grad school, international travel, marriage, home – I was ready for baby. I talked to my best girlfriend about her experience (her child is 9 months older than mine) so that I could be prepared.

She gave me the usual litany of things to do – like birthing classes. Being a mom that was having a scheduled c-section I thought the birthing class would be a waste of my time. She tried to convince me otherwise by noting the childcare aspects of the class. I still passed because sitting with other moms preparing for their natural births would at minimum make me feel envious and potentially would start the waterworks (My scheduled-c was necessary because I had uterine tumors removed. I wanted to try for a natural birth but was told that it posed too many dangers for myself and my baby).

So, sans childbirth class I forged ahead and had my bouncing baby boy in a procedure that went fairly quickly, with no problems and my recovery was actually much quicker and easier than after my surgery 2 years prior.

During the days of recovery in the hospital my son was by my side 24 -7, except for when he was being weighed and bathed. I began to realize that a refresher course in childcare might have been helpful. Between trying to nurse my son, keep him from crying and recover from surgery I would forget things. Like - oh when did I last change the baby? How frequently do I change the baby? I soon began changing him about every two hours and applying Vaseline to help heal his circumcision.

When I got home I asked my aunt about A&D ointment and if/when I should use it. She said she’d noticed a little redness on his bottom and told me I should always use it as a preventative measure against diaper rash. At that moment I felt my first failure as a parent – I had not been giving my son the proper care. He didn’t have diaper rash but I was crushed nonetheless. I know now that it is all a learning experience and perhaps the hormones were working on my emotions but I did feel defeated.

From that point on I slathered A&D ointment on my son. No one could accuse me of neglecting the care of his bottom. The same aunt was amazed at how quickly I was going thru the ointment and reminded me I only needed a little. I forged on and no diaper rash ever reared its ugly head on my watch.

When I returned to work and my son began daycare I dropped him off with pumped milk, diapers, change of clothes and of course the A& D. I was informed that they only used it when necessary but he would be okay. Somewhere down the line something happened. My baby’s smooth as silk bottom was covered in a circular raised bumpy rash. Although my son didn’t seem to experience any discomfort I decided to go to the internet to find a solution.

Apparently he had a fungal diaper rash – so I treated it with Lotrimin and it went away. When I was able to get him to the doctor it was mostly cleared up so the treatment worked. My aunt called me and asked if I had heard about Vusion – for diaper rash that didn’ t go away by normal methods. I hadn't but was on the lookout for the commercial for future reference. After finally seeing the commercial and visiting the website I knew that it would have worked for my son’s rash. It is only by prescription but if your child ever has a severe diaper rash go to your doctor and ask about Vusion, if I knew then what I know now I would have done so.

I guess if diaper rash is the worst thing that happens to me as a first time parent perhaps I really am a great parent after all!


Ms. Bar B: said...

Of course you are a great parent. The amount of love that you have for your son is proof of that. No child comes with instructions, which means that no book will ever tell us everything there is to know about raising a child. Why? Because each child is different, each pregnancy is different.

I would say to keep doing what you are doing as mom and give yourself the credit that you deserve =)

Joanie said...

Most babies get rashes. Especially when teething. There's a surplus of enzymes or proteins during this time that come from all that saliva. They swallow it. It comes out in their poop. It irritates their skin. My daughter had it terribly. My son had it, too. Every baby I've ever cared for has been there, done that. And that includes my little charges as a young babysitter (I was one of those 10 year sitters, too), a nanny, and a pediatric nurse. You're not doing anything wrong at all.

While I personally didn't like my first round of childbirth classes (I attended with a doula and all I could think of during those calming relaxation exercises was "Jack Handy" of SNL fame), I found my personalized childbirth classes the second time around much more interesting and beneficial.

Sometimes you know, instinctively, what you need or don't need. You likely would have hated the classes for the very reasons you mentioned. Being a scheduled c-section, did you really need to be reminded that you were "different" from the others? No. And you did what was best for you. That takes an awful lot of self-awareness most people lack.

Oh, and by different, I mean special. In a good way. You have your beautiful boy, follow your instincts, attend to all his needs, love him unconditionally, and that's all that really matters.

Dawn said...

Yes, if diaper rash is his worst problem, you are doing great! I would have loved to have the sense to wait and have children when I was older and settled.

mannequin said...

I think you must be wonderful mom Renee!
You sent him equipped, you take great care of him in all ways and you're a miracle mom because you fixed it!

That's what moms do; they got ya covered at every angle.

Kim @ What's That Smell? said...

Your story brought back memories from being in the hospital giving birth to both of my kids. The first one I felt like a complete and total disaster and never thought I'd do any of it right.

The second one went better as far as my being a little more equipped to handle things but she had her own challenges like trouble eating. And who'd have thought 4 years would be long enough to forget how to diaper a baby!

I'm pretty sure you're a great mom from the little I've known you so far!!!

Amazing_Grace said...

Just wait until your son is a teenager! LOL!

Petula said...

A&D is my favorite. It's so easy to remove during diaper and washing. I've never heard of Vusion, but I hope I don't need it. I am one child away from being diaper free forever! Mah haha... sorry, I got carried away. Although I don't like potty training, I can't wait to have that extra money from diapers.

Lynda said...

You write so beautifully about motherhood & I agree with what others have said here - you are a GREAT mom !!!

fly tie said...

you're awesome.

(considering that i have no children of my own, i really enjoy reading about parenting type stuff :-D )

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