Poor little DD was crying whenever she wasn’t sleeping. DH had bought a rocking chair and I spent my days in it, trying to sooth the little one. We were both exhausted and I finally did something I didn’t want to do—I dug into the bag of goodies the hospital had sent home with me and got out a bottle of formula. She didn’t know what to do with the nipple at first but she caught on after a few tries. The taste was foreign and the texture probably was, too. I made sure she was dry and put her in the bassinet that stayed by our bed. She went off to sleep and I collapsed in a heap on the waterbed.
I wasn’t going to let my supply dry up. DD was adapting more and more to my milk and began to thrive. We were both much happier than we’d been since coming home.
With the boys out of the house and DH at work, I’d have the radio on most of the day. Now, I go online to get information on anything I hear that’s interesting. Then, I had to do my own research. A new mother is always on the lookout for anything that might be threatening. The announcer was reading an article about an anencephalic baby that explained it was born without a brain. It stated that one way to ascertain if a child has this defect is to hold it up in front of a light. If the light shines through the back of the head and out through the eyes, it’s certain the baby has no brain. I gathered DD up and turned on the lamp. Sweet relief! The only light that was coming from her eyes was her own! If I’d had access to what I have now, I would have known immediately she was okay. She looked nothing like the pictures on the WWW.
Something I would never do was give the boys knives of any kind. When I set the table, I’d give them forks and spoons but no knives. If they got their hands on cutlery of that type, they’d “sword fight”. They got along just about as well as cats and dogs. To keep the peace in the mornings before school, I’d read to them. I read whole books. Their favorite was Treasure from the Haunted Pagoda by Eric B. Hare. It was a thrill a minute and it held their attention.
The boys had a set of Bible Story books by Arthur S. Maxwell. I picked out the one about the birth of Jesus and every morning, I’d put DD in her little bouncy seat and tell her the story. I’d sing “Away in a Manger”. “They” say that children learn through repetition and that’s what I was counting on.
Only a few months had gone by when the landlord gave us notice that his nephew needed the house and we would have to find another place to live. We were fortunate that DH’s brother and his family were moving back East. They were renting from the friend who had stopped by the night DD was born and he was happy to have us move in as soon as they moved out. What made it even better was we inherited the garden our sister-in-law had planted. It was a pain to have to move again but it was a nicer house with nicer surroundings and the tomato plants were full of green tomatoes.
My mother-in-law came out for a visit and brought clothes that she and her mother had worn for a picture. She carefully washed the dresses and spent hours ironing them. I put on her mother’s dress and was disappointed it wouldn’t fasten. It didn’t matter because I wasn’t going anywhere but I felt so fat and that accentuated it. The material was fragile and she was extra careful dressing DD. DH got out his camera and recorded the event on film. We took the dresses and petticoats off and she carefully packed them away.
While she was there, she cooked the familiar food that DH loved—her biscuits and egg gravy, fried par-boiled potatoes and beet salad. I watched so I could duplicate the dishes after she left.
One day, I was standing in the bathroom. I could look in the mirror and see my backside in the full-length mirror on the door. I was shocked at my size. I couldn’t believe it. I sat down and cried. I had to do something and fast. When I’d gone into the hospital I weighed 143 lubs. After DD was born, I hardly lost an ounce. I had never weighed that much in my life and I didn’t like it.
I started praying. I needed help and I needed it soon. I wasn’t the only one that needed it. DS1 had always been chunky but he was getting borderline obese. It wasn’t good for either of us and I knew it. Our answer wasn’t long in coming.