Monday, February 8, 2016

8 Good Things

Keeping it real: unshowered, cleavage up to my neck, Sam being skeptical (as he should be)

Stir Fry

Black bean and potato soup 

Curry chickpeas and vegetables

1. Some really good days. After a couple of exhausting days, one evening recently Sam unquestionably smiled at us for the first time. Those good days and good moments are so very welcome. He's nearing 2 months, growing like a weed (nearly 12 pounds now), and seemingly overcoming his late night gas, so we're all sleeping a little better.

2. Cooking. Because leaving the house with the baby is still kind of daunting, I'm cooking at home almost all the time, and I'm finally eating all that healthy stuff that tends to be ignored in the pantry. There's been a lot of soup--surprise!--but also curry dishes, stir fry, and salads. Vegetables galore! 

3. Seitan. Speaking of cooking, I've really been enjoying seitan. Infinitely better than tofu.

4. Beer. I refrained from drinking alcohol while I was pregnant. I don't normally drink very often, so it seemed like I'd be going out of my way to drink during my pregnancy. Now, it's a treat. I've had a couple of my most favorite beers over the past few weeks, and they were delicious.

5. Feeling pretty good physically. I'm still recovering from pregnancy and delivery, but I feel almost back to normal. I might be going to see a chiropractor to put some things back in order. I think I linked to this some time ago, but I have a renewed interest in body alignment and natural movement, and I really hope to get outdoors more soon!

6. Burlap bag gardening. We're thinking of planting some vegetables soon, and this method looks fairly easy and cost effective. I'm excited at the prospect of having a vegetable garden again!

7. Coffee. Like beer, I'd been refraining, and I still only drink weak coffee once in a while. I definitely missed the caffeine + work combo. 

8. Some really pleasant weather. I hate to say it because it shouldn't be in the 70s in February, but I can't not appreciate a sunny, 75-degree day when I've been cooped up for a couple months.

Monday, January 18, 2016

1 Month

I swore I wasn't going to plaster my child's image all over the internet, but can you blame me? 

The past 5 weeks have certainly flown by in a blur of nursing and lots of terrible daytime TV (secretly, I'm grateful for crime drama marathons).

Some people have asked how motherhood is going. You know? It feels pretty normal actually, which is weird since I had always gone back and forth about wanting kids before. I expected a dramatic change the day he was born, and I was scared because I didn't think I'd handle that well, but it hasn't been like that at all. Basically, it's just one foot in front of the other.

Breastfeeding has gone well, and he happily takes a bottle of breastmilk on the rare occasion I've left the house on my own--both are a big relief. I never realized just how much babies looooove milk. He's put on more than 2 pounds already. 

People also ask me about sleep. I read The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, and it helped me develop a good attitude towards sleep. For one, I've been lucky in that Sam sleeps in chunks of about 3 hours at night most nights, so it's not bad. For now, he sleeps next to me in bed most the time, which I think helps us both sleep better. But when he's not sleeping well, I try to remember that babies need to wake up to eat. I'm not constantly thinking, "It would be great if he'd just sleep through the night," because no, it wouldn't be. My definition of sleeping appropriately (8 continuous hours of sleep every night) works for our modern life, but that's not to say it's the only way to get enough sleep. At the moment, I'm not stressing too much about sleep.

The hardest part is leaving the house. We have to bring so much stuff, and then I worry about how comfortable he's going to be, and WHAT IF HE CRIES, and it just doesn't seem worth it. I mean, we don't really need groceries, do we? I can't leave by myself unless I've pumped enough milk, but little Sam eats constantly, so it's hard to find a window of opportunity to pump. This is that fourth trimester I've heard women talk about; we're still very much attached. 

We have good days and bad days. In the past week, he's done a lot of waking up (he slept through his first few weeks), and we've officially entered the, "What do you want?" phase as he's figured out grunting and crying. We're learning, though. There's a special kind of joy in getting an infant to fart when he's painfully gassy.

I'm eager to learn more about who this little person is. 

Sunday, December 20, 2015


It's never like the movies.

I woke up at 3:30 a.m. soaking wet, a week and a half before my due date. At first, I was in denial, but what else could it be? I texted the midwife and while I waited for a response, I hurried to brush my teeth and put my toothbrush in the hospital bag. I was shaking and confused. I didn't feel like I was going into labor, but I thought water breaking meant the baby would come shooting out of me at any second.

For some women, like me, water breaking doesn't immediately signal imminent labor. The body replenishes fluid for the baby, and occasionally, a rupture will seal itself. For two days, under the supervision of my midwife, I had mild, inconsistent contractions and no real dilation. The midwife suspected I had resealed, which meant we could still be weeks away from delivery.

The next day, feeling stir crazy, we went out shopping. Walking around, I started feeling more intense contractions, and around 5:00, I noticed they were becoming regular. By about 7:00, I was in active labor--contractions 3-4 minutes apart and 60 seconds in duration. The midwife came to check on us and stay until we decided to go to the hospital. Even though my contractions had sped up quickly, I wasn't dilated very much.

The next several hours are a blur. The pain was intense to say the least. I took hot showers and baths, I walked around, I lay on my side, and I bounced and circled on an exercise ball. When morning came, and it had been 12 hours since I started active labor, I was sobbing through each contraction, but I was still only halfway dilated. I knew I couldn't handle another several hours of the same, so we headed to the hospital so I could have some relief.

That meant a lot more medical intervention than I had hoped for. As I come to this part of my story, I still question everything. Why didn't I dilate faster? Was I doing something wrong? Did I give up too easily? Hadn't I taken care of myself during my pregnancy? At the same time, I wouldn't go back and change my decision. I remember looking at my glass of water, my bed, a half-eaten banana on the table, and my pink exercise ball and thinking, I now hate all of these things, as if these items were to blame for the pain I was experiencing. When I arrived at the hospital, I couldn't get an epidural fast enough.

Everything slowed down then. We just had to wait and see if I would dilate. We watched a lot of bad daytime TV (we couldn't even figure out how to change the channel in the room). Around 5:00 p.m., the doctor was saying, "I don't want to give up just yet." After he left, I asked the nurses what he meant: c-section. Not long after, a nurse came in saying the baby wasn't getting enough oxygen. She put a mask on my face and had me readjust my position.

This was not how I had envisioned this day happening at all. My pregnancy was so uneventful and easy I never imagined delivery would be this complicated and emotionally draining. All I wanted was a healthy baby. And I wanted it to be over with already. That's why they call it labor.

To my surprise, the next time the doctor came in, he very quietly said, "It's time to push."

At 8:00 p.m. on the nose, December 14, our little Sam came out to meet us with a healthy set of lungs (and everything else). 

Our midwife says Christmastime births are always dramatic--I suppose it's tradition--and we now have our story to tell. He's six days old today, and we're settling into our life together. 

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

8 Good Things

Ah, yes, life beyond work and baby-prep. This seems vaguely familiar.

1. When you eat just the thing you're in the mood for. Recently: mint chocolate frozen yogurt, vegetarian sushi (not together).

2. Date night. The husband and I normally work opposite shifts, so we rarely have the time and energy to go out together. With the baby on the way very, very soon, we made a point to go out and see a movie. It was Spectre, which wasn't very good, but it was nice to do something different.

3. New furniture (on the way). The nesting instinct I'm experiencing is manifesting as a desire to get our domestic needs in order, not just the baby's. Having a 3-person couch seems so extravagant compared to our little love seat! I'm also envisioning a BIG CLEAN once the semester is over.

4. Carrot and sweet potato soup. I subbed half a can of diced tomatoes for the tomato paste and left out the hot sauce, so it was a little plain, but I liked it. Eating it gave me a little burst of vitamin energy.

5. Cool fall weather (now that it's nearly winter), changing leaves, scarves, and hot baths. Oh, how I've missed you, old friends.

6. Online shopping. Because I do not have time to battle holiday crowds just so I can buy some sheets (nesting again). FYI: Black Friday is a fantastic time to go grocery shopping because everyone's eating leftovers and going to Target. I'm thinking the day after Christmas will be similar.

7. Knitted burp cloths. Because why not?

8. Jane the Virgin. We just started watching it on Netflix, and it's probably the most perfect show for us. The Spanish-English thing, the having-a-baby plot thing, and the it's-kind-of-a-telenovela thing are right up our alley.

What's going on in your world?

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

36 Weeks

Lots of striped clothes, not feeling well but trying to smile, Gdiapers, teething necklace, and OMG where did my belly button go?
The weeks are whizzing by now, and holy crap, I have a baby on the way. Part of me is terrified, but another part of me thinks this is one of the most normal choices I've ever made in my life.

The fun: It's getting harder to enjoy being pregnant. But there are moments. I daydream about what he's going to look like. I can "play" with him now by pressing on his feet and rear end when he moves around. The baby's room is looking a lot less barren and way more organized. Our Gdiapers arrived, and I never imagined I'd one day think diapers were cute.

The new: I'm feeling like labor and taking care of an infant don't seem as scary compared to the prospect of continued pregnancy; I'd rather have him out than in at this point. Some of my maternity clothes don't fit comfortably anymore, I'm fantasizing of one day being able to recognize my calves again, and I'm making plans for what to wear to make nursing easier. I've ordered a breast pump. My appetite has decreased as my stomach gets ever more smooshed. I find myself Facebook-stalking my friends' newborn photos, and I cry at commercials now. The baby is strong enough now that his kicks actually hurt sometimes, but it's amusing feeling what is definitely a foot poking out the side. People--even my students--are starting to comment on my size and appearance, indicating that I might be a waddling hot mess (but everyone insists I look good).

The weird: I'm having interesting dreams at night, probably due to my disrupted sleep (waking up to pee). They aren't about the baby, but they are quite strange and detailed. Something unexpected is that for some time now, I haven't been able to see my pelvic region, except in a mirror, which probably doesn't sound that strange until it happens to you. My bump sometimes looks fake, like the pregnancy suits actresses wear.

The unpleasant: Back pain! I'd avoided it so far, but now when all I want to do is sit on the couch in the evening and relax, I can't because it's so uncomfortable. Basically, I can't sit or stand, and even lying down comes with the hazard of not being able to get back up easily. I need 5 minutes to put on socks. Fatigue has returned, and that nausea I missed out on earlier in my pregnancy is gracing me with its presence now. I'm also having an increasingly difficult time concentrating on anything but the baby. Day-to-day life is exhausting and challenging.

Baby weighs around 6 pounds and is the length of a head of Romaine lettuce.

Also, I've been reading:

The Bed-Rest Hoax - Not that I'm dispensing medical advice, but I found the article fascinating and not at all surprising.

Pregnant Chicken - This blog makes me laugh out loud regularly. Recently read: Easiest Births Ever. Stages of Pregnancy.