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#1 of 17 Old 09-14-2010, 12:57 AM - Thread Starter
 
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After TTC for over 2 years, DH and I finally have a beautiful baby boy - so why in the world am I not happy?

Our 9 week old baby decided to come an entire month early, which was definitely stressful by itself. We were still able to have a home birth (which I don't regret) but I was mentally (and physically) fighting against my labor the entire time because I was worried for my baby - besides being slightly jaundice he was perfectly healthy and we didn't need to go to the hospital. We did however end up spending the night at a resort closer to the hospital just in case.

I really feel like my baby's birth was as it was meant to be but what I feel like I have "birth trauma" over was how DH behaved that day and I'm feeling extremely resentful. I was in labor for a full 24 hours - we thought it was false labor but it was still obviously painful. When I asked for DH to lay with me in bed or to rub my back, he was too busy playing video games. He apologized and said that he thought it was just false labor but in my mind it didn't matter if it was false labor or real labor - I'm 36 weeks pregnant, in pain and need support. When the midwife arrived and confirmed that we were in fact going to be meeting our baby really soon, DH started blowing up our pool and I labored by myself the entire time. I know that in DH's mind he was doing something that he thought was important to me but at one point I asked him to stop blowing it up/filling it and to just be present with me - he didn't listen and continued with the stupid pool that I never even got in.

Since our baby was born, we've had many challenges - getting back to birth weight (he is finally gaining normally), breastfeeding challenges (I pump around the clock), mastitis, reflux/colic. I'm now a stay at home mom but at times I feel a lot like a single mom. We just moved to this area so we don't have a great support system and my family is 7 hours away. DH works an hour away so by the time he gets home, I'm putting our baby to bed for the night and there are many days that DH never even holds our baby. He works from home 2 days/week but rarely comes out of his cave to help or just be with us. He recently moved to the guest bedroom because "he needs his sleep" - and I honestly don't mind that much because I was getting frustrated seeing him peacefully sleeping while I'm up with the baby or pumping. Over the weekends it is the same story - DH will disappear to the computer room or will leave to run errands (they are errands for the family but I still feel like he is trying to run away from us) and I don't get a break. This week I started taking baths with my baby, which helps relax us both before bedtime and it is the one thing I look forward to after spending the day with a crying/colicky baby - DH made the comment that I shouldn't do that often because I was wasting water and we need to save money (we are doing fine financially).

I tell DH all the time that I just need a break - even if it is just for a few minutes. He made the comment that there are many moms who do it by themselves and that I was "spoiled" for wanting help. His parents divorced when he was a baby and his mom did it without a huge support system but his mom also didn't breastfeed/pump every 3 hours/deal with a colic or reflux/have a pre-term baby! I really don't feel like DH is very attached to our baby - I think he loves him but I don't really feel like he's bonded with him (and colic doesn't make it any easier). This is the first newborn that DH has been around so I realize that he is just learning and feeling overwhelmed but I'm new to this whole mom gig too. It might be possible that DH is also experiencing a form of PPD.

I'm exhausted and usually in tears by the end of the day. I often sit at my pump with tears rolling down my face. My patience level at the end of the day is down to zero with DH (I still have patience for baby) and I let him know it. I shared with my midwives today that I felt depressed and they gave me the name of a therapist (who actually had a home birth and is all for a more natural approach) - hopefully she is covered by our insurance. I want to go to couples counseling with DH but he is resistant telling me that there is too much on his plate right now. I love my baby more than anything and would do anything for him but this just wasn't how I pictured motherhood.

Sorry for being so long-winded, I really just needed a place to vent and get it all out there. Anyone else going through something similar? Any advice?

New mom to a baby boy - born at home July 2010
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#2 of 17 Old 09-14-2010, 02:34 AM
 
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I can so agree with so many of your points (DH not even holding the baby some days, birth weight challenges, pumping) - they all add up to making the newborn experience so much tougher!

That said, I think its very inappropriate for your DH to call you spoiled for wanting support! Can you sit down with him and make a plan for the times when you are both home, and your 8 hours of "SAHM work" is done, and it's joint parenting time? I have been thinking about this with my own DH - he is fine on weekends, but I wish there was just one or two things (like bathing, putting to bed) that he would own as his own so that not everything fell on me 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Mum to Quinn, Aug 14th 2010
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#3 of 17 Old 09-14-2010, 09:49 AM
 
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A thought just popped into my head ...maybe it's a stupid one though. When you need a break have you ever just literally handed the baby off to you DH and then go to relax? I know that my Dad was always a little afraid (like afraid he wouldn't do something right) to take care of my little sisters so that's why he was hesitant about taking care of them w/o my mom there. Maybe your Dh thinks he won't be able to take care of your lo as well as you do. After all we Mamas ARE the experts right. So what if he thinks you are spoiled by needing a break ( and I think that it's ridiculous to even thinking such a thing much less him saying it out loud) TAKE IT ANYWAY!!!

Maybe you guys can sit down together and work out a list of expectations

Jess  SAHM to Daniel  (09/07) and Samuel  (06/10)and Katie Lee (11/11) we're with #4 edd 4/15 Wifey to my "geek" : David  for 14 yrs. ( 4/09 @ 19 weeks).
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#4 of 17 Old 09-14-2010, 01:37 PM
 
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Oh, mama, I went through a lot of similar emotions towards baby/parenting/DH when I had my first (colicky, high touch needs, exhausting, wonderful) son. I can say, bear in mind that men don't know what to do with infants, and it's not that the don't love them, but my DH told me, "I can't think of the baby as a real person until he can communicate with me." Your DH may feel similarly, and he may not be able to read baby's cries as well as you can. Again, I quote DH, "It all just sounds like CRYING to me. It's loud, it's irritating, and I want to run away. I don't know what the problem is."

I can say, as somebody who tried unsuccessfully to work from home, he may feel that if he's working, he ought not be coming out to hang out with you. Maybe you can have him take a "lunch hour" or some breaks to take care of baby while you take a shower, but it's tough to balance WAH with baby care. They are sort of mutually exclusive, in my experience, anyway.

Quick antidotes to exhausted and depressed are hard to come by. I can suggest getting yourself out of the house and finding some more social support, even a postpartum doula or teenage girl who comes over after she gets off school for a few hours to give you a break or help with washing dishes. Women were not meant to be the sole caregivers for infants 24/7. That's a fallacy of attachment parenting. Can you get out of the house - breastfeeding support group, babywearing meeting, playgroup meet-up at a park or mall, mama and me yoga classes, church social, anything to start meeting people and building your social support network?

If you are pumping, then I also suggest that you and DH take shifts for feeding baby at night - you sleep from 7 p.m. to 1 a.m. and he feeds bottles of breastmilk, then he sleeps from 1 a.m. to 7 a.m. and you nurse when babe is hungry. That way you both get 6 hours of unbroken sleep. You have to take care of yourself - sleep dep. and isolation and "this isn't how I thought it would be" are a recipe for wicked bad PPD. BTDT, and take care of it NOW, not in a year. Also, consider that your DH is probably very stressed too, though he may be losing himself in work to avoid looking at it. Maybe he is depressed and struggling too, I think this is a good thought to keep when you are getting mad at him.

Mama and Wife are both tough roles, and nobody really tells ya that upfront.

Also, if baby is crying a lot, the 5 Ss (Harvey Karp - shushing, swaddling, side/tomach holds, swinging, sucking), bouncing on a yoga ball, babywearing, and taking baby for some chiropractic treatments might all be helpful.

Your DH might find that he's good at soothing baby with deep humming or singing with baby held against his chest (they like the vibrations of the man's deeper voice, and they can hear his heart beating), and if he can find his competencies/strengths as a dad, that will also help him with feeling more connected to baby. But, really, you are the go-to for baby right now, and you will be chopped liver and Dad the all-star by the time baby is a 5 year old.

Doula, WOHM, wife to a super-fun papa, mama to the Monkey ('07), and his little brother, the Sea Monkey ('09).
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#5 of 17 Old 09-14-2010, 03:29 PM
 
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You may need to forgive your DH at some point, but not now. You need to work through some rightful feelings of neglect.

Your DH probably did not feel competent in soothing you in labor. Your DH probably does not know how to hold a new baby. BUT he knew how to fill that pool!

Men are overwhelmed also by the arrival of a child. Your DH is escaping into his own world of work to provide for both you and your child. That is what he knows to do. He feels competent in that job.

He needs to see it your way.
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#6 of 17 Old 09-15-2010, 01:44 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you so much for your responses! Today was hard - I got a grand total of 3 hours of sleep last night and my baby was so fussy ALL DAY. DH got home and for the first time ever actually rocked the baby to sleep - I was pumping while he did it so not much of a break for me but at least he held him today. I have major insomnia right now and as much as I try, I can't sleep so here I am.

I wish DH would agree to a schedule so that we both get sleep but he's said before that he has to drive an hour in the morning to get to work and to be able to function at work so he can't help at night. I've argued that I need to function with a baby during the day, so I need sleep too. DH tells me that I can take naps during the day - haha that is laughable. Even if DH agreed to help more, I would have to walk him through everything - which will just create more work for me. It frustrates me that after almost 10 weeks, my husband still doesn't have a clue how to care for a baby. At times I feel like packing up the baby and moving.

I feel like a crappy mom at the moment. For over 2 years I did nothing but hope and pray for a baby and now that he is here I'm sad all the time. My baby deserves a happy mommy. Something needs to change. On a positive note, my mom is coming to stay with us next week to help me out.

New mom to a baby boy - born at home July 2010
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#7 of 17 Old 09-15-2010, 04:42 PM
 
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Here's another thought to pitch at DH - on the days when he doesn't have to drive an hour each way to work, and on Sat. night, when he doesn't have to go to his worksite the next day, he CAN do the shift-sleeping. You probably have to suck it up and agree to him staying in the man-cave and working, not hanging with the fam. on those days when he's doing WAH. He can get by on 6 hours of unbroken sleep plus whatever else he can snatch when baby isn't fussing. It won't kill him. If you get the shift when he first comes home and you are worn out from baby care all day long, you can recharge and give him the late night/early morning to sleep so he can be reasonably well rested for work during the daytime. I think it is a fair compromise, and it would give you at least 3 nights a week when you get some real rest.

And maybe one or two other nights, can you afford to hire a night-sitter? Can you get a post-partum doula for when your mom leaves? It's great that your mom is coming to help out. Make a list of things she can do - cleaning, cooking and freezing food, laundry, take baby out for a walk for an hour and a half so you can sleep, etc.

You are not a crappy mom - that's the depression and sleep deprivation talking. Counter those thoughts with a litany of all the things you do for your baby, all the pumping, the rocking, the holding, the bathing, the nursing. That is A LOT. Your depression is not you, your crabbiness and weeping does not mean you don't love your baby, and you are going to come through this. Give yourself permission to ditch all non-essential tasks for now, and let self- and baby-care be enough of an accomplishment. Nobody died because of dustmice under the couch or eating take-out pizza, and if you had thought you'd get X, Y, or Z done before baby's 4-month birthday, just let them go for now.

Also, if your DH thinks you are being spoiled, point out to him that depression can be debilitating and make you feel like a zombie, or like you are possessed by demons, but that it seriously impairs functioning, and it gets worse over time. You can make the analogy that if you ruptured a disc in your back and could not walk, would he call you spoiled for asking for help? Mental problems aren't visible, but that doesn't mean they are less painful or difficult to live with than physical injury or that you don't need help.

Doula, WOHM, wife to a super-fun papa, mama to the Monkey ('07), and his little brother, the Sea Monkey ('09).
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#8 of 17 Old 09-16-2010, 09:17 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I really appreciate your kind words - DH agreed to taking shifts with me on weekends and on the nights before he works from home. If he steps up and helps on those nights, I really think that I will be able to function (physically and emotionally) so much better. I think he is finally realizing that I need support. Now I just need to learn how to let go and let him help!

New mom to a baby boy - born at home July 2010
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#9 of 17 Old 09-17-2010, 11:44 AM
 
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Saw this in new posts and wanted to respond. I went through IF to have my first (2.5 years) and understand what you mean about having a baby is supposed to make you happy. The reality is that having a baby is tough work and the sleep deprivation definitely doesn't help. I used to think about smacking my husband while I was awake feeding our son and he was fast asleep and snoring. I think some men just don't have a clue.

It's unfair for him to think you shouldn't need help! I get this a bit from my hubby: he thinks he's helping A LOT and I think he's helping just a little. I recently pointed out to him that of course I'm going to need more help from him than either of our moms needed from our dads because, unlike them, we don't live near family. So I don't have anyone who can watch our son for an hour while I go to a doctor's appointment or something.

Go easy on yourself. As PP pointed out, it's okay if the house isn't as clean as you might usually keep it. Plan really easy dinners or get take out. Taking care of an infant - especially as a pumping mama - is a big job just by itself.

Mama to Blake, 5, and Grant, 3
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#10 of 17 Old 09-17-2010, 06:54 PM
 
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If he does not live up to his commitment to help and take shifts and your family is amenable to helping, move back with them for a few months until you feel better and baby is easier. I have a cousin whose husband was much like yours until she packed a bag and headed out to the car to go home to mama. Then he stepped up...lol!
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#11 of 17 Old 09-17-2010, 07:37 PM
 
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You probably need to get in your dh's face about his behavior. It sounds like he is selfish and failed to grow up. This is not uncommon. Many people raise their boys to be little boys instead of men. I would not leave him sleeping peacefully. I would walk to the bedroom where he is sleeping and flip on the lights and in the sweetest voice I would say "honey, I just need you to change the baby's diaper while I go to the bathroom and fasten myself back up." If he is playing video games, I would walk in and say "sweetie, hold the baby for a minute." When he pauses the game and takes the baby, I would pick up the controller and start to play. When he asks you when you plan to take the baby back, I would look back so kindly and just say "oh, honey, this is daddy time, I am taking me time now."

But with me, if he tried to not hold the baby, I am not beneath standing between him and the TV or even unplugging it.

Try waking him up every single time you are up during the night,. There will always be something he can do..change a diaper, take pumped milk to the fridge, always something.

You are completely in the right to resent him. ((((hugs)))))
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#12 of 17 Old 09-20-2010, 01:12 AM - Thread Starter
 
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But with me, if he tried to not hold the baby, I am not beneath standing between him and the TV or even unplugging it.
Haha trust me, I'm not either! My DH was unfortunately raised very selfish and lazy - his mom literally did EVERYTHING for him and taught him gender inequality. He has grown up a lot since being with me because I've made it clear from the beginning that I'm NOT his mom and we are a team...if he didn't like this then he didn't have to marry me

I think he's now finally getting that I'm not going to stand for his selfishness or laziness. He's really stepped up these past few days, granted it still isn't perfect (like his version of "shifts" is me doing everything as he assists me during his shift) but at least he is trying. He actually started cleaning the house this morning and I didn't even ask him to do it!?! He wore the baby yesterday in the Ergo for a couple hours (I think that is the longest he has ever held him) and enjoyed it...I enjoyed giving my back a break from my wrap! I really think that he just doesn't have the confidence to care for our baby yet and I honestly don't have 100% confidence in his childcare abilities yet either. While I was rocking baby to sleep earlier (DH couldn't do it), I directed DH to go to askdrsears.com and look up how to put a baby to sleep...he has to learn somehow lol! On the days he works from home or on weekends, you better believe that I will be waking him up...if he doesn't feel confident changing/feeding then he will stand right by my side learning.

My mom has been AMAZINGLY helpful - cooking/cleaning/taking the baby for a walk to give me a break/etc. I wish she could move in with us for the next month! She is also very encouraging to DH (something that I'm too resentful to do at the moment). I'm considering letting her watch the baby overnight tomorrow night (I'm too attached to my baby to let go completely but I know I need sleep to be a good mom).

Thank you for all of your support! Things (my mood) seem to be improving but we'll see if they stay that way after my mom leaves.

New mom to a baby boy - born at home July 2010
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#13 of 17 Old 09-20-2010, 01:39 AM
 
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What a great update. I hope everything keeps getting better.
Is babe having bottles of breastmilk? or is he sometimes nursing too? I had PPD and my baby would only sometimes latch on in the bath. I bottle fed him my milk. But I belive it had a huge impact on my mood.

mama to Alex 20 Briana 16 Cory 10 and Jade 3Tubes tied and regret it
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#14 of 17 Old 09-20-2010, 12:01 PM
 
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Great that your DH is starting to work with you. I know it's super-hard, but give him lots of carrots (thank you notes, take a picture of him wearing the baby and tell him how cute they look, ask your mom to bring him a donut from the store next time she goes shopping as a little thank-you "from the baby," tell him that he's doing a great job with the baby). Stroke his ego, bolster his confidence, give him a smooch when you hand the baby off, and let him know it IS making a difference in your mood and sanity level. Even if you aren't totally feeling it, give him encouragement, and let him muddle his own way through with baby care. Maybe set a date after which, when it's his shift, you are really, truly leaving him on his own - you get to go into another room, put in earplugs and turn on a fan for white noise, and sleep like the dead, and he gets the same from you when it's your turn to be on-duty with the baby. It will give you guys a goal to work towards, and he can maybe identify any necessary skills and work on them with you prior to that date. I would also recommend "The Happiest Baby on the Block" by Harvey Karp for him to read.

One of the things I had to do with my DS1 and DH was tell myself, "Stand back, let him find his own way with the baby; do not intervene unless he asks for help." This is because a) you won't always be around to micromanage, and b) he needs to be the one creating his own relationship with the baby. Yes, his way will not be your way, but he won't kill the baby if he chooses to change the baby on the floor and wipe him with toilet paper instead of using wipes and having baby on the changing table, or if he chooses to walk baby to sleep outside at night instead of sitting in the den on a yoga ball bouncing like you do. An acquaintance of mine told a story about a nurse she worked with who had 4 kids and said her husband "got stupider with each one of them until by the 4th, he couldn't do anything right and would not help at all with the kids." So, there's a cautionary tale about micromanaging in that story (even though we KNOW that we mamas do the best babycare).

Enjoy the time with your mother, and accept all help she can offer your family!

Doula, WOHM, wife to a super-fun papa, mama to the Monkey ('07), and his little brother, the Sea Monkey ('09).
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#15 of 17 Old 09-20-2010, 02:38 PM - Thread Starter
 
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What a great update. I hope everything keeps getting better.
Is babe having bottles of breastmilk? or is he sometimes nursing too? I had PPD and my baby would only sometimes latch on in the bath. I bottle fed him my milk. But I belive it had a huge impact on my mood.
Yes, he's exclusively on breastmilk - mainly bottle fed because he refuses to latch at times. I definitely think that not being able to breastfeeding greatly impacts me mood. We have the added barrier of a nipple shield, which makes tub breastfeeding a little more difficult but he was able to latch in the tub a couple days ago with the help of DH.

New mom to a baby boy - born at home July 2010
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#16 of 17 Old 09-21-2010, 01:05 AM
 
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My DH also didn't help out as much as I needed him to. (And still doesn't, frankly, but it's getting better.) Looking back, there's a few reasons why I think he didn't and why I've had PPD.

Our baby is the first infant either of us had any experience with, that amounted to more than holding a baby for a few minutes. There was a huge learning curve for both of us, which made for tons of stress. He snapped at me a few times in the first couple months, and I'm sure I did the same to him. I don't remember all that was said (it's all a blur now) but one that I remember put me on my knees crying while he was yelling at me that I should do the work because I had wanted the baby. A horrible thing to say, and he's since apologized and I've forgiven him because I can see now that we were both extremely overwhelmed at the time.

Also tied into the lack of experience, he didn't feel like he could offer to help, both because he didn't want to get between me and the baby, and because he didn't know what to do. For my part, I felt like I "should" be able to do all the baby stuff, and had trouble recognizing that I needed to ask for help. It's very common for moms to feel like the dads have to do things their way. My DH would resent it if I told him how to do every little step. For instance he has to have his own bedtime routine with the baby, or he won't put the baby to bed. I've had to let go of being able to control everything that happens to my baby. I have to remind myself that babies are reared all kinds of ways and turn out fine.

A major reason for my PPD has been sleep deprivation. My baby is a very good sleeper, as babies go, but even if I get "enough" sleep (7-8 hours), I get up 1 or 2 times a night to replace the pacifier. This makes for enough sleep deprivation that my mood kept dipping down and left me feeling trapped. DH was resentful that I didn't appreciate his efforts more, but I wasn't able to when I was sleep deprived and depressed. He took this last week off, and attended to the baby for 3 whole nights, and whaddya know, I feel a hell of a lot better and more appreciative. Even though I could hear her fuss, I knew she was being attended to and was able to sleep much more deeply than I have for the last 7 months, even though I didn't get any more *hours* of sleep.

DH also grew up with a single mother, but his reaction was that he wanted to be an involved father because he didn't have a father. Just a different take that night resonate with your DH.

Loving my girl since Feb 2010! vax!
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#17 of 17 Old 09-21-2010, 11:52 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Earthnut - Your post really resonated with me. DH got home from work and took our little bug out for a walk - he was doing things differently than me and I bit my tongue. Our little guy was just fine with the change in routine and I got 15 minutes to breath (well to get his bath ready but it was much easier to do without a baby in my arms). I also feel like I "should" be able to do it all and I feel like a total failure at the end of the day when all I want is 10 minutes of "me" time. Sleep deprivation makes things much worse...I'm really hoping that DH will step up during his shift and I'm going to try really hard to let him do it his way.

I need to work on getting over my resentment because the littlest thing will just send me over the edge with DH - something I don't want to teach our little guy. DH said that he would go to couples counseling with me today, something I think will really help us heal our wounds.

New mom to a baby boy - born at home July 2010
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