I Know Nothing About Babies, says Mother of Four


babies I Know NothingI know nothing about babies. But I’ve raised four of them.

Raising those four precious creatures has made me sure of only one thing, I KNOW that I know nothing about babies.

If I had only had two children, I may not be writing this post. I felt like I really had babies figured out after my first two.

Things went mostly as planned. I was able to have the relatively easy, medication-free births I hoped for. I was able to nurse both babies successfully for a full year as I intended, and both of my daughters were incredibly good sleepers. They walked and talked just when the parenting books said that they should walk and talk; I felt like a pro.

Of course they weren’t perfect babies because there’s no such thing as a perfect baby. I had my share of uncertainty and moments of fear. I wondered if I was doing the right thing, and I most certainly sweated the small stuff when I should have been enjoying the journey.

For the most part, though, their infant years played out as I had thought they should. If I had wanted to rest in that good feeling I definitely should not have had two more babies.

During my third pregnancy, I expected to face few surprises, instead, he was an outlier in every way. His birth was hard, so hard, and nothing went as planned. His labor was managed with all sorts of medications, including lots and lots of pain medication.

After a rocky start, he fell into line. He nursed like a champ and slept better than any of my other babies. But it wouldn’t last, because something happened that no mother is prepared for. He got cancer. And that diagnosis and his subsequent treatment protocol overshadowed any and all typical baby experiences.

I don’t remember when he sat up unassisted. I can’t honestly tell you his first word, and most of his feedings – some expressed breast milk, some medical grade formula – happened through a tube in his nose.

Obviously, nothing in my previous infant experiences had equipped me for that journey.

Nobody, least of all me, expected I would have a chance to test my baby knowledge and skills again.

Eighteen months ago I was surprised with another little boy. I was older, but still, my pregnancy progressed without issue. Surely THIS time around I would have all of the answers, right?

He was delivered via emergency c-section after a poor reaction to labor. His umbilical cord had been wrapped around his neck twice and it was knotted as well. The nurses took him away for observation. By the time I was able to see him again he had been admitted to the NICU where he stayed for almost a week.

If my oldest son’s health concerns were an ocean, my youngest son’s could be compared to a small puddle. Even so, I again found myself in a situation I had not pictured.

Despite every good effort and years of previous experience, he didn’t take to nursing. Ever. He hasn’t been a great sleeper and transitioning to solids has been a slow and frustrating process.

Still, I love him with every fiber of my being, just as I do his brother and sisters.

So I end my baby years full of love, full of thankfulness, and full of perspective. But I also end with more questions than answers about the way things should be done.

How should babies be born? How should babies be fed? How should babies sleep?

Don’t ask me. I’m a mother of four who knows nothing about babies.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here