7.30.2010

One More Thing . . .

Mother guilt.

I totally have it.

We bought the dogs a new pool today. It serves as their drinking trough. And something to dip their paws in on a hot day. Well, the one who doesn't hate water, any how.

The babe, as it turns out, loves the water. So, before the dogs utterly trash the new pool, we dipped his feet in. Then his legs, butt, body. He even put his face in a few times and blew bubbles.

Then, he decided he wanted to stand up and lean over the side and touch the grass.

Except, he's head-heavy. And the pool was situated on concrete. And I'm slightly paranoid about him getting injured. (He bumps his head a lot 'cause of all the head-heaviness.)

And so it was that as he slipped in the pool, leaning further over the side, I snatched him up. And he sucked in a big breath and howled his little o-shaped howl. And then, because I am SO awesome, I did it again not 5 seconds later. He was really hurt this time.

I took off his sopping, swollen diaper, then his sleeveless, white onesie. And held him in the towel on my lap. And inspected the damage.

Among scrapes on his other fingers, there was a little pink one on the inside bend of his left index finger, where the skin was peeled.

So sad!

Guilty as charged! :(

~Nichole

Postscripts

i forgot to say. . .

i love it the most when C giggles in his sleep. it makes me giggle. (albeit very very quietly.)

also, how weird is it that when the physician's assistant asked me about my last menstrual period and i said "february 2008," she didn't even blink. then, i corrected my tired mispeak and said "february 2009, yeah, that's right."

~Nichole

7.29.2010

Before I Go

i am doing a tech fast next week. i am also typing this post with one hand. either way, i make no promises. i just wanted to get a few things down.

right now my baby is singing "lalalalala" with his tongue sticking out and then he stops and i smile at him and he giggles with his whole being. so fun!

as i type i'm cramping low on my left side. it makes me wonder what this body of mine is doing.

the other day in a sickness-induced dream, i was giving birth and with just one push, the whole baby came out, calm and painless as can be. a fast, easy labor. i really hope that's what it's like next time. (just not anytime soon.)

i ordered my hospital records, but it turns out what i got were just the "pertinent records". there was nothing in there about when i was dilated to what, though i have pieced together the major events. i'd still like to know the whole picture, and since they are all pertinent to me, i have requested my entire chart. hopefully i'll get my birth story put together soon.

i've been off work for the past 2 days, and even sick, i could really get used to working only 2 days a week! not that i've accomplished much, other than vacuuming, washing sheets, resting and making lists in my head, but it's a right spot more than during a regular work week. besides, for me, vacuumed house = clean house.

one of my newly postpartum e-friends is going through the "will i ever feel normal again" phase. it's comforting to know that all new mothers go through that. and that the answer is usually "no" because it'll never be the old normal, but it will eventually be a new version of "normal".

what else?

oh yeah. i'm taking an antibiotic that my doc assured me is "compatible with breastfeeding" but warned me it might make my baby get a little diarrhea. that seems like somewhat of a paradox. and makes me feel weird about taking it.

anything else?

guess not.

catch you on the flip side!

~Nichole

7.20.2010

Recent Convo with a Prego

"I’m SO excited for you!

People used to say that to me and I didn’t know what to do with it. When I was first pregnant, it was exciting, but it was really more a means to an end. Pregnancy (and labor/delivery) was the only way for me to get a baby, so I put up with it.

But now, looking back on all of it, I’m kind of cuckoo about it. It’s such a pivotal time of life and I can totally see how women love to talk about their experience and how exciting it is and how some women really get “addicted” to having lots of babies.

I felt really strong while I was pregnant. I was determined not to let myself be a wimp, so I did more while I was pregnant than I probably would have otherwise. I know I hiked more while pregnant than I had in years.

It’s really weird, but I’m excited to do it all over again. (NOT too soon, of course.)
__________
I’ve been there, so I know what you are talking about. It feels like something foreign has taken over your body and nothing (NOTHING!) feels the same. It’s like invasion of the body snatchers!

My friend L had her baby 2 months before me and I was very pregnant when she said to me, just after giving birth, “I miss being pregnant!” I gave her the most disgusted look I could muster. I could not believe that she would miss such a trying condition! I don’t miss it, but I do think it was a special time.

OK. Thinking more about this. . . maybe not so much the pregnancy. More the birth. Yeah. Maybe that’s right.

Except, just the other day I was thinking about how freakin’ sore my body was after giving birth. With an epidural, sure you forget the pain of labor pretty easily. It’s afterward that no one warns you about. I remember standing in the shower, hardly being able to bend over because every muscle revolted.

Consider yourself warned.

OK. You’re right. I might be taking back what I said about it being a “special time”. . . for every 5 women who love everything about being pregnant, I can name at least one who hated it, but endured it only because that’s what you have to do to have a baby.
________
Unfortunately, there’s really no way to warn a person – because everyone’s experience is unique. Even “advice” is really sort of useless if it gets too specific. I do stand by my statement that it’s a pivotal event in life. That’s about all that you can be sure about.

Prepare for the worst, learn what you feel you need to know about the process, and trust that everything’s going to work out the way it should. When I say of my experience “everything worked out just like it should” I mean it, not because it was ideal or perfect, but because I was open to the experience and didn’t have any absolutes or expectations in mind. I think these crazy women who get an idea in their head of how things are going to go are the ones who end up disappointed.

Sadly, I think that when women (me included) talk about the experience, we tend to think of it as a whole and sum it up saying “it is great!” – like when someone asks you “how are you today” and you say “fine” automatically. Something gets lost in translation. If “fine” has the meaning of not dead/generally intact, then yes we’re all “fine”, but it’s really a cognitive shortcut. Same thing with “pregnancy/labor/giving birth is great”. It’s a cognitive shortcut, because the overall outcome is the great part, not the specific experiences you have to get there."

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

~Nichole

7.19.2010

Hungry (but Full Up)

Here's how it happens.

My e-friend Jenn gave birth earlier this month. So did my e-turned-real-life friend Danielle. I see pictures of their fleshy newborn bundles of ooey gooey baby goodness and I go 'awwww'!

My e-friend Brittney is (over)due any day now. My friend H is 28 weeks pregnant (so is my e-friend Nat) and another friend is so freshly pregnant that ginger ale is her new best friend. Not to even mention all the prego bellies I see on Sundays. I think about that expectant state, awaiting a bundle of brand new, itty bitty fleshy goodness and I go 'awwww'! (except the ginger ale part, that is.)

Then, we watch videos from when C was just a tiny one-month old, what with his chubbery cheeks (!) and all that hair (!) and that little face (!). And I go 'awwww'!

And yet. . .

and yet,
2009 was the year of the baby
2010 is the year of the Masters
2011 will be the year of the start-up (not the fleshy newborn kind)

Besides. . .

technically, I have an 8-month old's squooshy face to munch all over and completely adore until the clock ticks and he suddenly decides he's tired of me.

Then maybe it'll be time for another one?

~Nichole

7.15.2010

For the Record

Tomorrow I am off from work.
And since my curiosity has been piqued for a while now
and has just been furthered by Jenn's birth story
I'm half tempted to take myself over to the hospital I gave birth at
and request a copy of my full hospital record.

Seeing as how I was delirious for most of the time,
there's not a lot I really remember,
so I'm thinking reading over my records might help piece it all together.

Who knows, maybe it'll fill in the glossy parts of my own birth story.

Has anyone else ever requested copies of their childbirth records??

~Nichole

7.14.2010

Tenuosity

There are days, much like today, when my position at the top of the hill feels tenuous at best. Why, you ask?

You know how on that movie “Mean Girls” the blonde played by Amanda Seyfried can “predict” the weather with her boobs? I can predict the weather with my head. When I awoke with a headache, after a restless night (in which the babe was in bed with us. . . again!), I should have known that the overcast, high pressure day is what pushed my sleepy head over into headachey territory.

We went kayaking on Saturday last. When my friend’s baby fussed and squirmed her way to a shore day, I secretly prided myself on the fact that C did so very well in the kayak and that we could spend hours out on the water as a result. That was Saturday. Sunday, he was cranky, fitful, and has taken to tossing his head/entire body backwards and commencing a sort of mini-tantrum. The other day he did it, and when I tried to pick him up, he threw himself back again and knocked his head on the corner of the side table. Is this normal for an 8-month old?

Oh, and about co-sleeping? C is back in our bed most nights. Even on nights when I’m on baby duty, the daddyman has been hopping right up at C’s first cry to get him from his crib and bring him to me for a bottle. For me, utter exhaustion is why he’s not making it back to his crib. For M, he really does love that warm baby next to him. He says sometimes after his alarm goes off, he’ll lay where he can hear and feel C’s breath on his face. So, we might be sleepless and baggy-eyed, but the way I figure it, some day, there will be no more babies jumping in our bed (and I suspect we’ll miss it just a little). . . so might as well enjoy this stage while it’s here and now.

So, needless to say, not a top-of-the-hill kind of day. More like top-of-the-heap. Still, I’m looking forward to Friday. I’m off and we’re having our first real date since C was born: a morning movie matinee. . . Hooray for me us!

~Nichole

7.08.2010

Another Conundrum: Co-sleeping

I may or may not have mentioned the “plans” I had for sleeping arrangements in our house. When I was pregnant, I made a pronouncement that baby would sleep next to us in his bassinet for a few weeks, after which we’d move him out into the living room, and shortly thereafter, transition him to his crib in his own room.

Leave it to my husband to crack my resolve.

At first, he was all “he’s so little!” “He should be with us!” “But his room is all the way across the house!” For the first 4 months of our boy’s life, the bassinet was on M’s side of the bed, as close as he could get it without an engineering degree. When I grew tired (literally and figuratively) of going all the way to the other side of the bed for midnight feedings, I moved the bassinet to my side of the bed. Hub protested the distance (“but. . .” “but. . . .”) and I assured him in my most firm voice that since I was the one getting up for more of the feedings, I was pretty sure the two of them would survive a slightly greater distance between their sleeping heads.

Then, almost imperceptibly at first, it happened. We began placing our little sleepy baby in our bed, between our tired bodies. At first, it was only every once in a while, because we were tired; then, because he was so fun to stare at; then, because it was the only place he’d sleep during the early morning hours; then, because M liked the sound of a breathing baby next to him; then, because it was easier to feed his lengthening body when he was laying between us; then, because we were too tired to put him back in his bassinet after feeding him; then, because it was the only place he’d sleep during any hours; then. . . (“No ‘and then’!”) (please tell me you know what movie that’s from. . .)

So. The Books say baby should have already been sleeping through the night, self-soothing himself back to sleep, sleeping in his own bed, sleeping in his own room by now. Our baby headbutts himself into a corner and cries himself awake. . . Meanwhile, M (which may or may not stand for “Mother Hen” at this point) says “he’s a baby!” “His room is too far away!” “I like him in the room with us!” “He sleeps better in our bed!” “I like to hear him breathing!”

Hence, Baby in our bed more than I ever dreamed (sha right! dreams!? you have to sleep first!) possible or probable.

Then, a couple months ago, C started waking up more often. “Teething”, M surmised. “Growing,” I thought. “Cognitive development,” the books said. Then, the bassinet was downgraded to a pack n’ play and C began waking up every few hours and we were bringing him to our bed almost every (early!) morning. Since I don’t sleep well with a baby at my back (or side or front), his crib, in which he’s never slept for more than an hour total, started to look like a holy grail. Except, as you all know, it is all the way across the house !

Needless to say, the crib is the newest piece of furniture in our room. C slept his first night in it last night. And guess what? No waking up an hour after I laid him down. Or an hour after that. Or two more hours after that. Nope - he slept for almost 8 hours before waking for a bottle! Hooray and the stars and the moon be blessed!

Lesson learned? Books (and “plans”) (and stupid pack n’ plays) be damned, sometimes you gotta do what’s best for you. Who knows? I might just skip the bassinet next time and give in to a crib in our room right from the very start!

“Deal?” I say.
“Deal.” says M.

~Nichole

7.06.2010

Heart to Heart

This past weekend Jenn (of Babymakin(g) Machine) had her beautiful baby girl. Hearing her labor updates and seeing the announcement of the birth and the newborn baby photos made me reflect all over again about C’s birth and those first few moments and days with him. Her experience brought my own memories floating back to me, snippets of time I had left somewhere upriver. Thinking back on that time, I see now that it was one in which an entire rainbow of emotions was compressed down into a prism of light by which my entire existence became spectacularly clear. Those first moments of meeting the only stranger I’ll ever love more than my own life were really quite amazing. And very hard to describe. Yet, every time I see a picture of that tiny little minutes-old newborn face, I realize it’s still all there, stored away in my heart for safekeeping.

All these months later and I still can’t put it into words. I try. Each night I look into that face before laying him down, I try. I say a silent prayer and hope the feelings of my mother heart entwine the tendrils of his baby heart and that he knows how deeply he is loved. Last night, we laid there, eye to eye, staring at each other down the barrel of a bottle. I watched his eyes close and his body relax into sleep and as I picked him up, my heart whispered to him “I’ve loved you from the moment you were made. No. Even before that, I loved you. I have loved you forever and ever. I will love you forever and ever.”

~Nichole

"May you be in love every day for the next 20,000 days. And out of that love, remake a world." -Ray Bradbury