Tuesday, December 23, 2008
It could be the exhaustion talking, the over-exposure of stay-at-home motherhood. It's 3:30pm on Sunday, and I'm hiding in my bedroom, while Tallu and her father hang out. I'm hungry, but I don't want to go into the kitchen, because I'm afraid that she'll see me and want me to come to her. Yes, I am hiding from a nine month old!
This week has been especially hard. Tallu has bitten my teets more times than I'd like to count. She's teething- her top two are coming down. But why does she have to bite me? What did I ever do to her?! She won't take a pacifier to chew. I say no when she bites, and I've even stopped a feeding if she bites me. It's not working. I guess this is the point where all the ladies chime in: "It's time to wean, because it's only going to get worse!"
I need to get away from the baby, I need to get some income, and I need to do this now. Have I said this before?
Friday, December 19, 2008
But the overcreamed dough was still sitting in my fridge until yesterday. My first fix were aluminum foil circles I fashioned, to keep the dough from spreading. It didn't work as well as I hoped. The mini-muffin pan I found in my pantry worked much better. When I upped the baking time by four minutes, my lemon muffkies were baked. It was a pretty good solution, and I didn't have to throw any of that cookie dough-turned-batter away.
Fast forward to yesterday...I am in the kitchen, again with the cookies. This time I'm making a test batch for the Christmas gifts my husband and I give each year. Talllu's two bottom front teeth are in, but she must be working on some more teeth. She's gnawing on toys, screaming, and crying, while I'm underworking the mixer. I'm growling at the mixer, asking it and the kitchen itself why my daughter refuses to let me get any work done in here? I let her cry a little, yelling: "I'm coming, I'm coming, just let me get the sugar in, okay?" I fling myself from the kitchen and swoop down to rescue Tallu from the playpen. She goes from "wah wah wah" to "ha ha ha" in five seconds. We hug, and I bring her chair and some toys into the kitchen, hoping this change in scenery would satisfy her.
I manage to beat in the egg, baking powder, salt, and baking soda before she starts screaming again. I push through to mixing in the flour, as I'm calling the recipients of these cookies all kinds of bitches and motherfuckers, I realize I needed to step away from the mixer. I get the baby. She calmed down, but I am not so eager to hug and smooch. I beg her to just let me stir in the chips and cherries and get one dozen in the oven. Tallu wasn't having it, and I barely get the mix-ins mixed in. Now I'm singing the "Me-Me-Me" song to Tallu as I rest her on my hip, turn off my preheated oven, and stash my parchment covered cookie sheet.
The "Me-Me-Me" song is an ad-lib, but it's chorus is the same: "Me Me Me Me Me Me MEEEEE!" Tallu thinks it's hilarious, and it reminds me that when I get upset because I can't get shit done, there is a good reason. I told my husband about my ordeal as I finally put a batch of cookies in the oven, and we agreed that this year's baking marathon will involve one person watching Tallu as the other one mixes and bakes.
The cookies held their shape, so there will be cookies for gifts after all. No thanks to Tallulah, my cranky, teething baking assistant :-D
Friday, December 12, 2008
Tallu and I had on serious earphones to protect our ears- hers were pink, mine were black. If there are any parents out there who want their children to be exposed to live music but want their children to keep their hearing, urge you to get earphones. She kept them on as long as I had them on her, and she never went to fuss with them. My husband bought them for her so that he can take her to class with him, and so we can take her to his and other drum performances. I promise you, I've been checking her hearing ever since last Saturday, and she's fine.
A friend of ours gave us tickets to a cabaret on Saturday. She was promoting the party and said the tickets were for our first date night. Milady spent the night with her buddy Jay and his mommy and daddy, while we had drinkie-poos and a few hours alone, in a club with a hundred or so other people. It was strange not having her either next to me or attached to me, or even in the same building as me. I was nervous the entire car ride to the club. "Is she going to be okay?" "Are you sure?" I kept asking my husband every two-five minutes. He assured me that she would be, and that I would be okay, too. "But she's all alone, my poor baby," I said. If she's not with me, she may as well be alone, and I could barely breathe until we got a text message from our friends, showing a sleeping baby.
It was a short night - we told our friends we'd be home by midnight- but it was just enough time. I'm still nursing, so my boobs won't let me be away from Milady for so long. Plus I'm not used to being out of my house after 8pm anymore! We managed to have a few drinks, some snacks, and some time to talk without one of us having to check on, play with, change, or feed a baby. For the first time in eight months, my husband and I were just a couple out for the night, not Tallu's parents.
When we went to pick up the baby, we couldn't get her right away. Everyone in the house was sleeping, so our friends weren't answering their phones! We walked down the street, stood on their porch for a few minutes, then sat in the car until they returned our last call. She cried a few minutes, they said, then fell asleep and stayed asleep until we came inside.
Date night was a success, and both couples have agreed to babysit for each other for future date nights. We will have to plan next month's activity, and hope Tallu is as cooperative as she was last Saturday. Hmm...what to do for our second date?
Monday, December 1, 2008
What the fcuk is Gov. Palin doing on television? AARGH! Where's the remote!
Anyway, my family is back home after a four day, four family (and friends) holiday frenzy. Oh lord, what a loong weekend! Tallu saw her three cousins from her dad's side, two of whom are cousins from Wisconsin. She had such a great time watching her cousins, who are 3, 2, and 15 months run and jump and walk and eat and do all that stuff that big kids do. I even let Tallu "chase" her older cousin M- I held her upright and ran behind her cousin M. Both girls got a big kick out of that.
There were more children to see in Queens on Saturday, but they were 10, 6, 5, and 5, so they played amongst themselves. There were also a 2 year old and four month old, so the younger children were passed around among the adults. I don't think there was much interaction between Tallu and the babies there, except the photo ops.
Finally, on Sunday Tallu saw one of her godmothers, had brunch at Tavern on the Green with her aunt and uncle, and met a friend of mine I haven't seen in about seven years. This baby was busy! We are still catching up on sleep, and her sleep pattern is totally off, thanks to the travel. It's 10:40pm and she's still awake. I've been trying to get her to sleep since about 8:30.
The general consensus is that Tallu is a good baby- she is happy, pleasant and rarely cries - and should be earning her college tuition by modeling, right now. She should also be sleeping in a crib, eating solid food, and getting rid of that chesty cough. I apprecitate the compliments, and I wish I could do something about the chesty cough. For now, though, I have to stop this post, because some well-behaved baby is still fighting sleep, and her father's long attempt at walking the hall was to no avail.
Sunday, November 23, 2008
My parents were married for almost thirty years, but they didn't spend the holidays together very often. The four of us always started and ended the holiday together at home, but my mom would go to her family, my dad would go to his (although, sometimes, he would go with my mom.) I tried to follow my dad sometimes, but the last holiday I remember spending with his family, there was lots of yelling, and I ended up in my great-grandmother's bathroom crying because I couldn't take the fighting anymore. I gave up on that whole dividing time between the families BS after that.
But there were years when the four of us chose stay home together, and that was great. No schlepping to Queens, or Harlem, getting comfortable, only to have to get bundled up and come home. We could eat an oven stuffer chicken, since none of us really liked turkey. We could stay in our pajamas if we wanted. A happy holiday, indeed.
Our family likes to stake their claim for Turkey Day at least a year in advance, and there are no backsies! (I have a fabulous example I could insert here, but I won't.) We're whisking Milady to three states in as many days, and jamming her between us on a double sized air mattress for as many nights. Christmas Day, at least, we've claimed for ourselves, and everybody knows. (And if they don't, they will know by the end of this weekend.) The day before and the day after Christmas I think we're committed. By the New Year's Day, I think I'll need to be committed for a few days.
I know she's a baby and won't remember her first Thanksgiving or Christmas no matter where it is, but I'm not sure if Tallu will ever know the peaceful bliss of being home for the holidays.
My husband commutes a few hours each day for work, so a Thanksgiving at home would be wonderful. He could spend all day with his baby, I could see him for more than an hour and a half before sleep. We could watch the Thanksgiving Day parade in front of a roaring fire, sipping cocoa in our pajamas...who knows what family traditions we would have, if only we had time to cultivate them?
Gobble gobble, everybody!
I'll keep trying the "solid foods as food, not toys" experiment and report back on her progress.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Friday, November 14, 2008
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
You slept through a defining moment in American History, one that you and I will talk about when you're older. Senator Barack Obama became the forty-fourth president, and first African-American president of the United States of America. You'll learn how it happened when you start taking American History in school, but that's not what I want to preserve for you tonight.
It was not by accident that I took you into the booth with me when I cast my vote. We went to the polls as a family of three, but the women of this family went into the booth together. My mom took me when she went to vote, and since women in the United States have only had the vote since 1920, I thought it was important that I carry you to the booth with me on this, the first presidential election of your lifetime. You should know that we were not the only black women in the polling place. The judge who checked me in was a black woman. (She actually has a son a month older than you.) Every person working the polls for our precinct was a black woman.
Daddy and I were talking about how hasty it was for the newscasters to call states for Obama when not even half the precints had reported. The next thing we know, people are rejoicing. Women are crying, Rev. Jesse Jackson is weeping, the newscasters are speechless. When their voices return, the prevailing refrain is that the dream of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., that "a man would be judged not by the color of his skin but by the content of his character," has come to pass. America has overcome.There was jubilation from many, but not from your mother. In fact, I said to your father that I'd belive this country has overcome when it elects a Native American lesbian who lived on welfare and who's open about the abortion she had, as president of the United States of America. (Your dad is not as cynical as Mommy, don't worry.)
I am pleased Obama won, don't get me wrong. I voted for him, and I would have been very disappointed if he wasn't elected. But his election to the presidency doesn't signal to me change has come, that race is no longer an issue in America. We are overcoming, and this is an important part of a long process.
I'm still struggling with issues of race in America, and you will too, hopefully less than I. It will be tough for the both of us, but know that I always love you, and I'll try to explain the minefield of race, gender, and class as best I can.
The Milk Lady
Monday, November 3, 2008
We both deserved a good rest. She's napping again in the crib. I'll take that small victory. I don't know when we'll start the night transition. I should know by now not to commit to such bold undertakings in print.
Sunday, November 2, 2008
I took down the bassinet portion of the playpen because Tallu was getting too big for it. This wouldn't be a problem, except she does not like sleeping in her crib at night. It's 2:39 pm, and she's taking a nap, in the crib. She's been down for an hour, and asleep in the crib about half an hour. Tonight we'll start the transition, which is going to be loud, long, and sleepless for me, I'm sure. I brushed up on the No Cry Sleep Solution, which sounds more humane to me than Cry It Out. NCSS is all about routine, routine, routine. I don't like routine, but my husband is tired of being slapped in the face at 5 in the morning by the baby.
Speaking of baby, she's done with the nap. Byee!
Saturday, November 1, 2008
I agreed to babysit a friend's child- her baby is seven months older than mine. We both figured since he knew me the transition from mommy all day to someone else all day would be easier on him. Ummm....no.....he cried for hours the first day, only stopping to eat breakfast. I would try to console him, but just as I calmed him down, I'd have to nurse Tallu. He's also a breastfed baby, and the sight of my baby nursing sent him into a tailspin. I got him to sleep by taking him and Tallu for a stroll around town. But after lunch he cried some more, and if I was holding my baby he wouldn't come near me, screaming at the top of his lungs.
Tuesday went a little better, but only because my husband worked from home, so my charge had a devoted playmate for a little while. His joy lasted until my husband sequestered himself in the living room to work. My husband, Tallu, and I went to bed exhausted.
Wednesday through Friday he cried and screamed a little less, but was clearly unhappy. It was a hard adjustment for him, going from having mommy's undivided attention and milk on demand, to me having to juggle two babies, and him having to see the other little baby get booby. I was worn, he and Tallu couldn't keep each other company, and Tallu wasn't sleeping much during the day. I was sorry I couldn't help my friend for longer, but I thought it would be better for both babies if I didn't keep him.
His mom and I talked every day, and the one thing that baffled us is how women have children so close in age. I was beginning to wonder I could handle more than one child period, let alone two close in age. I think I'd like to enjoy Tallu alone for a few more years. Maybe when she's going to pre-k I'll be ready for number two. It's not the two to three year gap my husband and I have talked about, but we'll see.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
There are many parents out there who would probably stick their tongues out at me and say: "Well, this is what you get for spoiling your child and letting her sleep in your bed, you lazy, co-sleeping wench!" Damn right I'm lazy! She's sleeping in our room because I am too lazy to get up in the middle of the night to walk down the hall to feed her. You think I wanna go to the foot of the bed to feed her at 3am? Side nursing was the best skill I've mastered thus far. I'm so good, I can now feed her from either boob without having to move her.
Eh, at least she's not screaming. And her dad gets to hold her for a while. That's really why I did it, I knew he wanted some daddy-daughter time.
Thursday, October 2, 2008
but I digress....
Tallulah had her six month check-up with the pediatrician. Five immunizations: one drink, four shots. She's growing steadily, weighing at 13 lbs, 8.5 oz. Her doctor says we can start her on solid foods, something Tallu did earlier this week.
People say the sign is that a child is very interested in what is on your plate. Tallu's been watching us eat, grabbing at our plates, and grabbing at my cup. So this week I decided to give her some banana, while I ate an apple. She didn't eat much fruit- about a quarter of a teaspoon (I ate my apple, and the rest of her banana). I wasn't sure any banana got into her mouth, since she refused to take it from the spoon. The proof was in her diaper the next day. I won't post it here, but yes, we did photograph it. We were going to take it to the doctor because I wasn't sure what the hell those specks were at first.
On the flip side, I have not really shared all the bad stuff I've done. I think it's important, so that all of you know that none of us are perfect, and new mothers know that you are not alone. So here's a short list of missteps. I'm in the runnings for mother of the year!
-Tallu's got a cold (for a week), diaper rash (two weeks), and a low grade fever (nurse said that's no big deal).
-It's 10:30pm, and she's still awake. (sorry, husband mentioned she's awake again.)
-I breastfeed on demand, so I have to make up an answer when Tallu's pediatrician asks how many times she breastfeeds a day.
-Tallu sleeps in the bed with us at some point during the night, because we've learned how to nurse in our sleep.
-Tallu's fallen out the bed while I was out of the room. (In my defense, I put a pillow on the bed as a barrier. Thankfully, she pushed the pillow on the floor, and fell on the pillow.)
-My house is completely un-childproof. How do I know? I turned my back for five seconds, and Tallu had a plastic shopping bag in her hand. (I have no idea where it came from, I swear!)
And through all of this, she's managed to live to 6 months, three days. She's a happy, calm, healthy baby. Her dad just said she's coming along in her sitting up and talking. She's using her hands, she's laughing, teething, eating, peeing, pooping, and sleeping. We love her, I love her, and I think she loves us.
Thursday, September 25, 2008
We had a CHOP appointment Tuesday morning. This was the 6 month checkup, X-Ray included. Dr. Flynn had this to say about her progress: "Talllulah's hips look awesome!" The conditions are right for healthy bone development, and she actually has the hip bones of a nine month old. We return for another follow-up X-Ray shortly before her first birthday. It's sad for us because we won't get to see the nurses and admin staff for another six months.
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Tallu hiked a mountain, sat on a dock, endured mosquito bites, had lobster-flavored milk, toured her parents' college campus, and survived her longest car trip yet. Now that she's teething car rides are not so enjoyable for the three of us. We were able to break up the seven hour trip with stops to visit family and friends un NY, CT, and MA.
I'm nursing Tallu as I write, it's 11:34pm, and I'm tired...gnight y'all
Thursday, September 4, 2008
Her first pool experience wasn't the most pleasant because she was cold and hungry. The second time I fed her about fifteen minutes before she went in, and we chose the hotter part of the day. She stayed in for a little longer without freaking out. This last time she stayed in for about 15 minutes.
Her dad did a good job of checking her body temp by feeling her cheeks. He figured if her face wasn't cold, she was probably warm enough. Watch the baby- she can't tell you she's cold, but you'll see her changing colors. Tallu's lips were a little blue by the end of her swim. I stayed dry to document her swim and to warm her up when she was finished. Bring two towels: one to dry the baby, and another to wrap the baby after you've removed her wet bathing suit.
Milady is five months old, with lots of curly hair, big cheeks, and turkey legs. The cough is finally gone, though every once in a while she needs to clear her throat. She doesn't really enjoy being on her stomach for very long, and would much rather move around on her back. Tallu loves her rainforest gym and uses her hands and feet to play with her toys. She's found her hands, and mine, which have become her chew toys while she's teething.
I know the proper term is teething toys, but for some reason I keep calling them chew toys...
Anyhoo- she's not exactly sleeping through the night. She sleeps in five hour stretches. Now that I am not leaving the house for work, I don't mind getting up in the middle of the night. The last early morning feeding I bring her in the bed with us, because she can nurse in her sleep, and I can nurse her while I sleep.
There is a radio campaign in my city urging parents not to co-sleep with your baby. You could roll over on the baby in your sleep, crush her, suffocate her. She's safer in her own crib. Could these things happen? When I was fourteen my sister and I slept over at my aunt's house to hang out with my cousin. My aunt was babysitting an infant, and when it came time for bed she asked who wanted to sleep with him. I volunteered, and it meant the baby and I would have to sleep together on the sofabed. (There were also kittens in the living room, somehow they ended up in the bed with us.) I remember waking up twice. The first time the baby was crying. The second time I smelled something awful. I thought he pooped, but it was one of the kittens. However, I did not roll over on the baby, and I was not his mother.
If you have a large enough bed and you want your infant to sleep with you, I say why not? (I wouldn't recommend it if you've had a little too much to drink, or if you're on heavy medication.) I get more sleep after the 3 AM feeding because I don't have to wake up at 5 or 6 to feed her again. My husband gets more sleep because he doesn't have to hear a crying baby. Tallu gets more sleep because she can just wiggle over to me and nurse. Everybody's happy.
Friday, August 29, 2008
Driver: "You have a beautiful baby back there. Just beautiful."
Me: "Thank you, thank you."
Driver: "And what are you doing up there? You should be in the back seat with her."
Me: "She needs her alone time, too!"
Driver: "You don't need to be up there with him. It's all about her now!"
Me: "Aww, she's alright. She enjoys her alone time (fake laugh)"
Here's what I'm thinking:
Look, dude. I don't know how many children you have stashed in the back of your van. But my baby aint gonna be one of them. So do us both a favor, and keep your eyes on the road, Chuck.
Don't be looking in this car at my baby...shiiit....
Who does this? Who operates a moving vehicle and feels compelled to talk to a stranger about the baby in her car? Clearly this man felt it was his civic duty, but he really needed to keep his eyes straight ahead. The man wasn't that concerned for her, cuz a few minutes later he cut us off. Jackass.
Then there was the waitress we had at IHOP. She gushed for five minutes about how cute the baby is, she's got one around that age, her children are mixed too - aren't they the cutest? Meanwhile, my husband and mother are starving, and I'm getting ready to pass out from fever. She even takes out pictures from her apron to show us, then takes our order. When she dropped the check, she asked to hold the baby. I had to shut that down- I told her Tallu was sick, which was true. I couldn't let another waitress hijack my baby. Did I tell you all about the one who scooped up Tallu from her grandmother's arms while asking: "Oh, can I hold her?"
I don't know what possesses people to behave like this.
Saturday, August 23, 2008
I hate schedules, I abhor chores. But if I am going to be at home I have to be organized so I can take care of Tallulah and this house. And prove to my husband and myself that it was a good idea for me to quit working. I could write a brief essay about feminism and motherhood in the 21st century, but I don't have time to wax philosophically, my sink is full of dirty dishes and there are mountains of clothes that need to be washed.
Friday, August 22, 2008
Tallu's cough was not really improving, so last Wednesday I took her to the doctor, after I quit work (see last week's post.) There was no medicine I could give her, and the doctor sent us home with a plan to see her on this Monday, and to call if she took a turn for the worst.
We returned to the doc on Monday, and Tallu has bronchiolitis, or bronchitis lite, as her father and I called it. Bronchiolitis is an inflammation of the bronchioles, the airways that lead to the lungs. It is a virus that affects children under 2, and is more common among children who live in close quarters.
Going to a daycare where a child already has bronchiolitis helps spread the virus.
That's right. Tallulah was sitting in a room with an infected baby. The daycare workers said nothing to me about one of their children being sick, which pissed me off. Knowing a child was sick would not have prevented mine from becomming sick. It just would have been nice to know. How do I know there was a carrier? One of the workers, whom I happen to know, told me one of the children was sick. This was after Tallu had her fever, of course.
Bronchiolitis is a common childhood illness, but it can develop into something more serious. An article I read online says children who have had bronchiolitis may be more likely to develop asthma. More research needs to be done to clarify the relationship between asthma and bronchiolitis.
Tallu is doing better, her cough is sounding drier and is much less frequent. The doctor prescribed only Tylenol if she was very uncomfortable and to lower her fever. We bought a cool mist humidifier to soothe her at night, and did lots of sucking snot with the baby nasal aspirator.
The moral of this story: babies + daycare= sickness. If your child is sick and she's enrolled in daycare, do the rest of the parents a favor and keep your child at home. If you work for a daycare and you recognize a child is sick, do the children a favor and send that child home. And let the parents know someone was sick. You don't have to name names, but just communicate, please.
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Let's take a moment to let that settle...
I spent the weekend in the Poconos with four friends and their children. We all had a good time, but there came a point Saturday night where I had to put Tallu to bed. I could have nursed her, set her down, and rejoined the party (which I heard was mad fun, yo), but I chose to turn in with her. Why? First, we were sleeping away from home, and I wanted to make sure she slept. Second, when she woke up at her usual feeding times, I would have to get up with her. That would have been a bit tougher if I stayed up to hang out with the crew. I chose to meet my child's needs instead of playing fun drinking games until 4 in the morning. This was a wise decision, because Milady decided to wake up at 6:45 Sunday morning, smiling and ready to play.
By the end of the weekend I had spent a lot of time with my baby, and I was heartbroken that Monday morning I would have to leave her. I was not at all pleased with the daycare she was in, and I couldn't bear to send her anymore. Her dad and I toured a center a block from work, and although it was better place, it just wasn't good enough. These women were not me, and no one could take better care of my Tallu better than I. So, why am I putting my baby in someone else's hands?
I told my husband I want to stay home with Tallu, and he said okay. The budget would be tight, but I was prepared to go in today to give my two weeks notice. This morning- 5 am, actually- she woke up congested, coughing, and crying. I had to suck the snot out of her nose with the aspirator. All the while I'm thinking "Okay, I'm not sending her to daycare today, I've got to get her to the doctor, and I'm giving them my notice today."
This was definitely not my most professional moment, but Tallulah is my number one priority. I promised my daughter that I would never put my job before her again, after pushing a flatbed from the basement to the first floor elevator at 36 weeks. I broke that promise when I put her in a daycare that displeased me to fulfill my contract for this organization. Consider my resignation as an apology to Tallu.
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
Tallu had a fever Monday morning, which meant I stayed home to take her to the doctor. The heat was radiating from her head, she was whiny, and once she refused to nurse. I decided to check her temperature after I changed her diaper. Once the thermometer passed 101 I started crying. Yes, I know that's silly. Her leg was on backwards at birth, but I got a wigged out because the baby had a fever.
Obviously she's fine now, I gave her acetomeniphin (with the doctor's permission, of course.) The doctor said to watch her temperature over the next 48 hours, and if it didn't return to normal, or if she behaved unusually, to bring her back. This morning her temperature was normal, but it did rise to 100.3 this afternoon. No big deal- more meds, fever's down again. I'll check it before we leave home tomorrow, to make sure she's well.
For the past two days she's been nursing like she'll never nurse again. That's actually a good thing. Nursing is always a good thing, but keeping a baby hydrated is important, especially when she has a fever. But being home for the past two days (well, three- she was starting to go downhill Friday) was good for her, but bad for me.
I realized that I have no interest in working anywhere for the next eight months except with Tallu. Given the hell that I just went through with my various debtors, you'd think I'd be clawing at my job's doors. I'm simply not interested in being there. It's been three weeks now- that schpiel about returning to work being a good thing was just to convince myself to get there in the mornings.
The desperation has worn off, and I realize the place she's at now is not so hot. I picked her up Thursday and one of the caretakers said to me: "I am exhausted. We had fifteen babies, and two of us this afternoon." The ratio of infants to adults in such a facility is supposed to be 3:1. That's not negotiable. A woman I know started working at Tallu's daycare yesterday. She gave me the inside scoop about what she saw happening there during the day she interviewed, which was last Friday. I won't share the details here, but it did not inspire confidence. I cannot confirm that the two boo-boos on the back of Tallu's feet happened while she was in daycare, but I'm sure they didn't happen while she was at home.
The reality is that I need money. But my daughter needs to be taken care of, which is more important than money. Speaking of which, I need to pump so she'll have food for tomorrow. So no matter how much I want to stay home with her, I cannot. Even if I leave my job, I'll have to work somewhere else, since no one's gonna pay me to stay home. I really can't get much more than an hour or two of work done- believe me, I've tried.
Caring for a feverish baby was not easy, but it was nice to be home with her again. Now she's well, and playing mommy is over- I gotta get back to work tomorrow.
Sunday, August 3, 2008
My family is religious, but also superstitious. My mom would say things like "Don't eat standing up, you make the house poor," and "If your right hand itches money is coming to you." My dad swept my foot one day, and demanded that I spit on the broom. When I asked him why, he said if I didn't I'd go to jail. I also had to burn or flush hair from my comb lest someone get a hold of it and do voodoo on me, according to him.
They also have superstitions around babies. You're not supposed to let them look into a mirror before they turn a year old. I forget what happens if you do. You're not supposed to call a child pretty, lest death should come for the child. Sounds awful, but according to my family, this has happened.
My father had a sister about a year or so younger than him, and they were playmates, but she died when she was a toddler. My great-aunt says she was a beautiful child, so beautiful that my grandparents would fight over which one of them would hold her. One day the child fell ill, and my grandparents and aunt got in a cab to take her to the hospital, but she died in my aunt's arms before they reach the emergency room.
I know it's awful, but I've started to cringe when people focus on the baby's appearance. No one wants to be told their child is homely! But I am starting to cringe when people say how beautiful she is. I am quick to raise the canopy over her when we're walking down the street. I even turned her stroller away from a lady who was staring at her in the mall today. I didn't do it maliciously or overtly, I don't think.
I have thought of fashioning a little paper bag to put over her head when we leave the house, with air and eye holes, of course. Mainly I think "Don't look at my child!" when we're walking down the street. I will accept the compliment, because I don't want to be rude. This fear that these compliments will result in losing my baby unsettles me.
Thursday, July 31, 2008
(Why are you reading over my shoulder, jackass)
[Sorry, the husband's being nosey. He just asked if that's staying in...]
Back to haiku...I was at work when my cell phone rang. The ID flashed "Restricted," so I didn't answer. I know it's a bill collector calling, but there's only so many times I can say:
"I was on 12 weeks unpaid maternity leave...oh, thank you [the collector just congratulated me]... I just returned to work in the middle of a pay period, and I now have three cents in my account, so I won't be able to send you anything until the first of the month."
So I was thinking I should compose a haiku for my outgoing voicemail message.
I know I owe you
I work for a non-profit
You earn more than me
Or what about this?
Bills are overdue?
When I got it you'll get it
The best I can do
Third time's the charm...
Hi, bill collector
I have no money for you
Now have a nice day
Will it work? I'll let you know :-)
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
She can kick her legs, and stretch out whenever she feels like it. I don't catch a whiff of sour milk every time I pick her up. Our little turkey is free.
The weaning process was important, physically for her, and mentally for mom and dad. I think taking her out of it cold turkey (I need another poultry reference...) would have been overwhelming. It took the four weeks to me to re-learn how to hold her, and I'm sure Tallu needed time to get used to not being confined twenty-four-seven.
Taking her out for two hours each day was simple. We took her out at 6pm, put her on her gym, gave her a bath, put her in, nursed her and put her to bed. It was a short break enjoyed by all.
Temptation became stronger as the breaks out of the harness stretched, especially during the last week. She only wore it at night, and it seemed so cruel to strap her in for bedtime. We had established a routine by the eight hours out week: I'd nurse her and put the harness on while she slept. (I was amazed she could sleep through it) The most difficult night was last Monday. She was asleep on the bed, and I paced in and out of the room for a half hour, harness in hand. What's one less night? I thought. She won't know she skipped a night. But I would, and I was afraid that one night would ruin months of progress. So I went back in the room and prayed for the strength to strap her in that stinky thing one last time. Of course I took photos of her last night in the harness.
She slept well, but I was on edge the whole night. When she woke up for her 4 am feeding, I was all too happy to call her night over, and I took her out for what I hoped would be the last time. Her doctor's appointment was a week later, so we wouldn't know for sure if the therapy was complete.
We went to CHOP yesterday, and Dr. Flynn said we can burn the harness:-D
Her hip has healed very well. We return for follow-up X-rays at the end of September, and March of next year. Tim and I spent Monday night creating a thank you card for the staff, a collage of Tallu from the inverted leg, through the phases of treatment, to the end result.
Dr. Flynn thought the card was awesome -he could show the nurses who came with him what her leg looked like before treatment. One of the nurses said it should be a marketing tool for other parents, so they can see how well the treatment works.
I just thank God she was born in the 21st century, that she did not need surgery to fix her leg and hip, and that we never have to put her in that contraption again.
Thursday, July 10, 2008
It was very difficult for me to put her in daycare. I didn't cry when I dropped her off, or when I got to work. I'd done my crying over the weekend, while everyone was asleep. We spent the weekend at the shore and in NYC, so I used the time to wean her from having me all day long. I only held her to nurse, and I'd try not to be in her eyesight. I was also weaning myself from having her near me all day long. It was awful, but I had to do it if I was going to go to work.
Meanwhile I was a horrid person to my husband the whole weekend. I think Monday he said I was acting as though I was blaming him for my return to work. I've never been so proud of him in all the years I've known him- he picked up on non-verbal clues! It only took what, nine years?
So did I really blame him? Yes. He wasn't insisting I stay home if I really wanted, which pissed me off- it made me feel like he really wanted me to go back. His being sad at having to put Tallu in daycare annoyed me, since he wasn't the one who had spent every day and night with her. And not once did he offer to work from home, a perk which he successfully lobbied to his boss to gain. He did work from home while I was on leave, but he didn't do much in the way of care for Tallu during the day.
But I blamed myself, too. I was returning to a job where, working part-time (but closer to full-time) I worked myself into an early labor, for a meager salary. If I didn't have student loan and credit card debt, I wouldn't feel compelled to go back to work after spending only three months with my baby. I'm also thinking of my career. I only have a Bachelor of Arts, and I've worked my way up in this institution, from volunteer, to consultant, to employee. I'm at the very beginning, and to leave now would be a major setback.
Was it worth sacrificing full-time motherhood to return to this place? Yes, believe it or not. I have switched departments as of today. It's not a glamorous job- I'm assisting with the reorganization of the collections- lots of administrative work, and data entry. But part-time means part-time. No more 25 hours-but-really-40-hours bullshit. And, my new boss doesn't see why I can't work from home! I'm going to see if I can get a laptop from work so I can do my five hours remotely twice a week.
Wednesday, July 9, 2008
We're both tired at the end of the day. We come home, I eat, then she eats, then we take a nap together. She's been asleep since about 6, and it's almost 1 am. The daycare gives a sheet of when she ate, dirty diapers, and nap time. She only napped from 10-11 this morning. She does like to be up, but I guess she can't get terribly comfortable sleeping in her carseat. I must remember to bring her little bed, maybe that will help her go down for naptime.
I'm pumping at work. My boss put up a curtain for me so I can have some privacy at my cubicle. (Of course, Tallu would start to fuss as I'm writing this at damn near 1am...)
Thursday, July 3, 2008
There is some question about whether a baby can be called breastfed if she takes her mother's milk from a bottle. I guess technically the baby's not being breastfed, but po-TA-to, po-TAH-to, I say.
Anyhoo...The center is divided into two campuses. The infants are on the campus on the Ave, which means I'll get on the bus instead of the train for work. It's pretty convenient, and because it's nearer to home, I will not be able to work past 5. Daycares charge ridiculous late pickup fees- ours is $10 every fifteen minutes, some charge by the minute. It's clean, the ladies seemed nice, and the babies looked happy.
I will have to supply diapers, wipes, a change of clothes, and food. I'm planning to bring her sleeper bed, and leave the stroller there during the day. My one concern is food. One of the providers, Ms. J, asked if Tallu takes water or juice, after I told her she was breastfed exclusively. I will have to send lots of milk to guarantee that no one gives her juice or water. Of course, I cannot control what they give her, since I am leaving her in the care of someone else. I don't know how I'll be able to tell that they gave her juice, either. Smell her breath, maybe?
Ms. J said they have a few breastfed babies, so they know those babies tend to need extra holding time. That makes me feel good. I don't really want people setting her down to cry it out. She's an infant, jeez. Besides, I think the harness frustrates her, so I like to keep physical contact with her so she doesn't feel constricted AND neglected. That's my psychosis, though.
Speaking of the harness, the weaning is going well. She into the 4 hours out this week, and next Tuesday begins the 8 hours out. I have to leave that in the hands of the day care providers also.
I'll only see my baby in the morning before work and for a few hours when we get home. I'll have to check her over every day to make sure she's okay. I'm not being a paranoid new mom on this. The church secretary told me how her son's babysitter mistreated him as an infant, and it might not have gone unnoticed if her mother hadn't demanded she take a good look at the child.
This center seems like a good one, and I pray that my child will be well-cared for and safe. I'm truly sad that I have to leave her in the care of someone else so soon. But I have to put my full-time job on hold for the part-time job that pays money. I knew this day would come, but I was hoping it wouldn't.
Have a safe 4th of July, enjoy your weekend.
I asked my job if I could work from home. They said no. There isn't enough work that I could do out of the office. I'm not surprised. I work part-time, 25 hours, and someone needs to be in the building as a contact person for the department. Oh, and I have to do these damned gallery checks! Plus there's a gallery that needs to be flipped when I get back. During gallery turnaround there is no such thing as a 25 hour work week. I can't bring Tallu with me.
The HR director called to give me the news, then paused and asked "So, will you be returning to work?"
"Yes, I have to."
I did some research about childcare for Tallu. The large childcare down the hill from us has no space for infants. There's a lady who does childcare in her house, but she has one infant, and doesn't like having more than one in her care. Someone has offered to watch her for the next two weeks, but her availability wouldn't work for me.
This last minute scrambling is what I get for putting all my eggs into one basket, and not having a plan B already in place. It's getting down to the wire, and I have to come up with a solution two weeks ago. It just dawned on me that Friday's the 4th of July, so places will be closed. This has to be figured out by the end of tomorrow.
Tuesday, July 1, 2008
It's 12:30 am. I should be asleep, since the rest of my family is. I'm hungry, and I'm trying to fight the urge to eat a dark chocolate almond sandie cookie. If I just went to sleep, I wouldn't have to fight the cookie.
Anyhoo- I've realized that I now need to get up about 45 minutes earlier if we need to go anywhere. I need time to shower and eat before I can get Milady ready. I've had two special occasions go by where I didn't get a chance to shower or eat because I needed to get her ready. The first time I was getting my hair cut, and Dad had some mishap with a bottle, so Tallu got more milk on her than in her, and he didn't have time to clean her up because he needed to shower. When I got back from the barber, I had to dress the poor hungry thing, who wasn't clean, didn't have time to finish feeding her because we were already late, and had to listen to her cry for the 45 minute drive.
The next time I went sans shower was the day of her baptism. This time Dad went to get doughnuts and coffee, which he did after he showered. I sponge-bathed Tallu while he was in the shower, hoping to get a fast one in before the guests arrived. I never got the chance- I greeted one of the godmothers at the front door with Milady at the boob, and the crowd kept coming. It was also my baptism (yep, a double whammy), and I was unshowered and hungry. My hair got a holy water rinse. The Holy Eucharist was my first meal of the day. At least I wasn't funky, or if I was, no one said anything.
You never really understand your own mother until you become one. My dad took his time getting himself ready, and my mom had to get two girls ready for church or school, plus herself. Dad was pretty much useless to her during these times. If I want to be clean and fed, I gotta get up before everyone else. Now I get why she rose so much earlier than the rest of us.
You know what? I'm going to get a bedtime cookie. HA!
(Sorry, Tallu's dad. It was either this, or Tallu's Saturday night bath story...yeah, that's what I thought :-)
Friday, June 27, 2008
I don't want to go back, but I gotta. Especially since my credit card company called to ask if I was ok because I missed a payment, which is so unlike me. I explained that I am on unpaid leave and my money ran out before June's payment was due. The woman on the other end wasn't too sad for me. My account is in the red, and the bills are only going to keep piling up.
There is nothing I'd rather do than stay at home with my baby. To care for the baby I've waited for, the one we planned to have. (Though many of you would say not carefully enough. If you knew you wanted to be able to stay home with her for a while, why didn't you plan for that?) I don't want someone else taking care of her. I don't want a stranger watching my baby. It's taken me almost twelve weeks to learn who she is now. I don't want to hand her over to someone else who will become her caretaker, and get to know her better than me.
Tallu can't talk, she can't tell me how good or bad her day was, or if anything happened to her. I know I'm being paranoid, and maybe looking to make excuses. But I really want to be with her.
I want to be at home with her, changing her diaper, taking her for walks, watching her grow. My mom stayed home with my sister and me, and I swore I would do that for my children.
As I was telling Tallu, being an adult means you do things because you have to, not because you want to. I have to go back to work, so I have to hand my child over to someone else to care for her while I am at work. Women do it every day with babies younger than mine. I will just have to suck it up and trust that Tallu will be okay in someone else's care. Babies are very adaptable. She will be fine. She'll love it, even. She'll wake up looking forward to going to daycare, and she'll cry when she has to come home.
I've got to prepare for this inevitability both mentally and phsyically. I have to start pumping a hell of a lot of milk and freezing it. I'll have to start a feeding schedule and feeding her from a bottle at home, so she's really used it. I'll also have to feed her less, and stop offering her the boob every time she cries. (Many breastfed babies use the boob as a pacifier, and want to nurse because it's comforting as well as nourishing.) That leads to picking her up every time she cries, for which the church ladies have already chided me, which will also have to cease.
I'm not ready for this, but I did it to myself.
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
We get to wean Milady from yon harness!
The three of us went to CHOP yesterday, and were given the weaning schedule. Drs. Chan and Flynn checked her legs, both are stable in the hip sockets. Each week she has a set amount of hours out of the harness, which culminates in her only sleeping in the harness at night for the final week of weaning.
We were supposed to start yesterday, but a friend of mine from middle/high school came through Phila on his way to Toronto. When we got home it was nearing Tallu's bedtime, so we decided we'd wait another day to take her out of it. That was a smart decision - I know I passed out soon after I put her down to sleep.
Dad did the honors, since he was so upset about not being able to take her out of the harness after the last visit. Tallu's on the two hour stretch this week, which was enough time for a bath. Yes, she had a real bath in her little tub! The harness reeks, so it was also bath time for that thing too. Dad disinfected it while Tallu enjoyed her bath. It was a delight to be able to see all of her, to touch her legs and her feet. To wash her little calves and her feet. I even hesitated when putting her diaper on, because for the first time in weeks I didn't have to thread the diaper tab through the back leg strap.
Tallu looks so different outside of that contraption. It was like seeing Wonder Woman as her alter ego. I haven't seen her without it since she was three weeks old, I think, save the non-harmess stress test day. I could see now how much our baby has grown since we all came home in March. She's fattening up, which is a good thing. Tallu has a big head and a small neck! I forgot she even had a neck, it's always covered up by the harness. She's getting long, too. I couldn't tell, since her legs are always bent at a 90 degree angle.
I will have to re-learn how to hold her when she's out of the harness, since it does support her pretty well. But I think we will all enjoy this weaning period. It was wonderful to get to feel her and not the straps that have kept her rigid for the past nine weeks.
The harness has become a part of her, but it's such a relief knowing there is a definite end in sight. By the end of July she'll be a new baby. I'm grateful we found out about the hip dysplasia early and that she's responded so well to the treatment. I just found a site that explains what it is, and it has an illustration of the Wheaton-Pavlik harness, the device she's been wearing to treat the dysplasia. http://www.orthoseek.com/articles/hipdys.html
For all you parents who may have to deal with this, please don't wait to treat the problem. If you're going through it now, follow the doctor's orders. Keep that harness on until your doctor gives you permission to take it off. I understand the temptation to cheat, to take off the harness just once to give the baby a bath. We were definitely tempted during the heatwave. Be strong, and remember, as my Aunt Adrienne said to me last Saturday, "This, too, shall pass."
Thursday, June 19, 2008
Tonight was daddy-daughter night while I went to the nursing panel. I pumped a few days ago, so my husband fed her while I was gone. They played, she napped, woke up, ate again, he played the drum for her. A good time was had by all.
Soon as I got home the letdown happened- I call it "the tingling." It's less painful now, but I'm still getting used to the sensation. Anyhoo- it wasn't time for Milady to eat again, so I pumped out some more milk for later. She didn't appreciate that- she was watching me pump - and she started crying. So, I had to feed her shortly after pumping, which was fine because it was nearing her bedtime. (That's the great thing about breastfeeding, you don't have to wait for your milk to refill.)
When I came home she didn't look excited to see me- I didn't get the big smile she gives her dad. I grumbled about having to feed her right after pumping. But I got to cradle my little chubbykins and watch her eyes slowly droop as she rested her little hand on my side. She nursed for a long time, which I think is her way of letting me know she's happy to see me.
I saw a baby on the bus, sitting up, making noise, and entertaining himself. A year ago I may have thought "Oh, I want one of those." Tonight I watched him and thought "Tallu will be doing all those things soon", and it made me a little sad. She's only two months old, and already I don't want her to grow up :-D
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
This is the best racket going!
I have a bag full of shirts, pajamas, nursing pads, and other items from the meeting tonight. Retail value... over $300!
I've been wearing a $55 nursing bra for the past month and didn't even know it, thanks to product research. It's actually a very comfortable nursing bra. It's supportive without being bulky. The bra I received has so tags, so I didn't know it was $55 until the moderator told us tonight. The bra is by Elle MacPherson, and now that I've worn it, I can say it's worth the investment. Your boobs grow during pregnancy, so if you plan on nursing you will wear it for a while.
Right now, I am lounging in a cotton nightgown that will sell for $48 in the store. I will test an organic feeding cover that costs $50. All the stuff I would scoff at in the store ("Who the fuck is gonna pay fifty damned dollars to sleep in some cotton?!") is sitting up in my house, and I paid nada!
I thought nursing tops were a gimmick, and that I would have no need of them. I was so wrong! Ladies, if you plan on nursing, stock up on a few good nursing tops. I'm not just saying this because I'm getting them for free. My doula gave me one of her tops and I loved it. You will be very appreciative when your child starts wailing in a cafe and all you have to do is unhook a strap and latch the baby onto your booby in five seconds without drawing much attention to yourself. Today a man thought Milady was asleep in my arms, but she was actually nursing.
Ah, the power of free merchandise ;-)
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
We're getting better at the breastfeeding thing. How good are we? I can nurse her while walking down the street! The fam went to the Odunde Festival two weeks ago, and during the processing Tallu had to eat. It was wicked hot, she was screaming, so I had to nurse her walking across the South Street Bridge. She ate and no one gawked, until I got back to the stage area.
I was sitting down, nursing Milady (that's one of many things I call Tallu), when my mom said to this little girl "Have you ever seen a baby being breastfed?" I guess the girl said no, cuz my mom tells her to come over. So she does! My mom, who did not breastfed me, is the poster-grandma for breastfeeding :-D I think it's great. My aunt, who asked me to warn her when I was nursing so she could be out of the room, actually sat next to me while Milady was feeding.
My motto is the baby's gotta eat, no matter when, no matter where.
It still hurts occasionally, but I am glad I stuck with it. You guys should see Madame Chubbykins- her face and thighs are so fat! All because of my milk- it's very gratifying.
Monday, June 16, 2008
Boy or Girl?
What's the name?
I answer all these questions, the first two without much thought. I hesitate for a second, but I always give her name to complete strangers. This afternoon while I was nursing Tallu I saw an awful news story. A woman asked another woman if she could take the baby to the store. The other woman said yes. 48 hours later, the two month old is still missing.
Now, I doubt someone is casing the house waiting for an opportunity to snatch my baby. But I'm considering coming up with an alias for my child. (I have friends who never tell their baby's name to strangers, just a nickname.) I also travel the streets with the stroller completely covered up because I don't want people looking at her. (A lot of people have said my baby has kissable lips. She's two months old- don't be looking at my baby's lips!) I'm wary of putting pictures of her on the internet, because I don't want every schlub with internet access to have images of my child. (My husband made an online album and made it public, which still unsettles me.)
Ok, I'm tired, and it's hot in the living room. Plus it's been an hour and a half that Tallu has been in a different room, and I haven't heard any noise on the baby monitor. I gotta make sure she's still in her bassinet...
Whatever...what's not done is not done. Yet, we eat daily, I'm typing a blog for the internet I can access, watching tv that we have to pay for. We still have an apartment (the rent's late, though, tee hee hee), so really, how badly do we have it?
I cooked dinner tonight. It took a few hours, but I did it. Last week I took a shower AND cleaned the bathtub and sink. I even took an overnight trip with Tallu to NYC last week. That was exciting. We got to visit my fam, and my husband got to live without a crying baby and a cranky wife for 36 hours. That was his Father's Day gift from us. Of course, I'm broke, so he paid for my trip out there. He didn't say anything about it, but that's hardly a gift from me.
My best piece of advice? Don't have children. They cost money. But if you insist- as we did- be prepared, financially. How should we prepare, you ask? Dude, how the hell should I know! You're asking financial advice from a woman who has more debt than her yearly salary... pfft...
was free for about two hours. They put her through it with the non-stress test. I didn't think it would hurt, but apparently it did. Ah, it was so exciting to not have a baby in a contraption. She was smiling and kicking, she didn't know what to do first.
I have to say, if I haven't said it already, the staff at CHOP are AWESOME! We hadn't been in weeks, and when Attiya (our doctor's office manager) saw us, she greeted us like we were old friends- she kissed me on the cheek! I felt so special :-) Of course, they all swarmed Tallu, and she was hamming it up! Thank God we're not going to CHOP for anything life-threatening, but it is comforting to know that even the support staff cares about us and our daughter.
Back to the harness... the docs are still very pleased with her progress and the improvements are strong and steady. The good news is they've officially ruled out surgery or a body cast to correct the hip dysplaxia. The sucky part is that milady is still in the damned harness. Tallu and her dad took the news pretty hard. I swear, as soon as the doc said "we'll keep her in the harness for three more weeks" she started wailing. She and her dad needed a few minutes once the harness was back on and the docs left the room.
The three of us are sick of this thing. (well, I say that, but I assume Tallu is) It was especially difficult through the heatwave. It would've been nice to give her a bath, but we still can't take her out of the harness. I am tempted every day to take it off, but I remember how excited her docs were at each check. We can't risk setbacks for a twenty minute bath.
So, when will she be free? We don't know. Next week we go for another harness check, and I believe we will begin the weaning schedule. The docs never give a deadline. We go in, they like the progress, then they say what happens next, we go home and wonder: when will this be finished?
Wednesday, June 4, 2008
Last week was the immunization appointment.
Sunday, May 18, 2008
Yeah, so...we're at week seven, and Tallu is still here. We had a harness check at CHOP this past Tuesday, and the doctors were visibly pleased with her progress. June 3 she goes for an ultrasound of the hip and a stress test out of the harness. Let's all pray that she does well, and that when they take the harness off she will never have to put it on again, and no one mentions surgery (an unfortunate, but real possibility if the harness therapy isn't enough).
The breastfeeding is going well. She's definitely rounding out, and as I was feeding her in the coffeeshop I noticed how much heavier she's feeling. It's hard to tell how big she really is, what with the harness and all. Yes, I was feeding her in the coffeeshop. I whip out the guns whereever man: the train, a street fair, anywhere but a public bathroom, cuz who wants to eat in a public bathroom? (that's the pro-breastfeeding mantra)
I bought this cover-up called a Peanut Shell, which shields her from public view. It's an apron with a wire in the neck so you can see what's going on down there. It is very conspicuous; I'm not trying to pretend like I'm not breastfeeding, mind you. I just don't want people watching me fumble with my teets jutting out. Plus, I'd like to keep our private time as private as possible while I'm out and about.
Diaper changing is a different story. I just changed her on the chair next to me. I can't pack up everything and walk downstairs to the bathroom that may or may not have a changing station. We have a diaper bag with a travelling changing pad, so I slapped that on the chair and changed her quickly. No crying, and at least I didn't change her on the table where people eat (you're welcome).
The moral of the story: mothers have no shame. We do what we have to do, where we have to. I learned this from my mom, who would make bologna and cheese sandwiches for herself, my dad, my sister, and me on NYC trains. At least we weren't hungry, and my baby won't have diaper rash.
No one's called scheduling appointments for my husband. He's a little disappointed. But that's my fault, since I didn't publish my cell :-)
Friday, May 16, 2008
Today I had my 6 week postpartum check-up. I am cleared for exercise, and not a moment too soon. There is a gap in my abdominal muscle, thanks to all the stretching during pregnancy. It's nothing a few crunches wont fix, and it'll save me lower back trauma.
The midwife and I did talk about postpartum depression because I have been feeling a little down. My husband says he's worried about me. It's not a severe case, but I'm not a professional so I can't say for sure. It is hard spending 24 hours caring for a person who can't talk, and cries inconsolably at times. I've been doing some things to help, I think. Now that it is warmer I try to get us both outside, and I'll stop at the cafe down the hill from me for a change of scenery. I can also hang out in the living room because the house is not as cold. I told all of this to her, and she gave me the number to two women who are experts on PPD. If you feel sad or blue it's a good idea to tell your midwife or obstetrician, don't be scared or embarassed about it.
My stitches are pretty much healed, save one little section. My midwife asked if we have considered birth control options. I said not really, except reading that there are certain birth control pills you shouldn't take while breastfeeding. Not interested in an IUD, and I wouldn't trust solely relying on breastfeeding. You can use breastfeeding as a contracaptive, but you have to breastfeed (or pump) consistently every 3-4 hours. If you miss even one 3-4 gap your body will produce an egg, so it takes sincere vigilance.
So my options are a progesterine only birth-pill (like the mini pill), the Depo-Provera shot every three months, or abstinence. Oh, and condoms, of course!
There are women who return to their regularly scheduled programming post birth. I don't understand them. I guess my vaginal memory is too fresh- I wasn't thrilled about this 6 week check-up because that meant someone had to touch me down there. I'm also living to nurture a human being with my body around the clock, so I don't have extra energy for procreating. Lucky for me I'm not completely healed, so I wasn't given the green light for such activities. Don't take me as the norm- I hear some women get right back into the game after the 6 week check-up, and even earlier.
In light of the fact that I have no interest in sex, abstinence sounds like the way to go for now. The good news about abstinence is that it's 100% effective :-D For those of you are wincing at my eagerness to rely on abstinence, let me say this: I wish you would try and remind me of how birth control works. I am the fucking centerfold for birth control, because I used it faithfully for nine years! If you even fix your mouth to lecture me of all women on the virtues of birth control, I will not feel sorry for you when I cuss you out (though I never feel sorry for cussin' people out, cuz it's always well-deserved!)
I know some of you are shaking your heads now, tutt-tutting and moaning, "Oh, your poor husband! That's so unfair to him. He has needs *sniff sniff*" If you want to have sex with my husband, give me a call, we'll schedule interviews. Be prepared to submit to drug screening, an HIV test, and a physical exam by a doctor of my choice! Or take up a collection and send him to the Bunny Ranch if you feel so badly for him. He could use a vacation, I'm sure. See how helpful and understanding I am? Yeah, you're welcome :-D
Tuesday, May 6, 2008
Uh-oh...she's starting to scrunch up her face...gotta go...
I've been a mother for 38 days. No one's come to pick up this baby, so I guess that means she's staying. At least the breastfeeding is getting better- at her last check-up she weighed 8 lbs.
Tallu and I had a rough weekend. She's been doing a lot of crying. On Friday I thought she had a fever, so I took her in to the pediatrician after taking her temp three times at home - first one with the ear thermometor, the second and third rectally. The doc took her temp, and when I told him she felt warm to the touch to me and was eating A LOT- she was on my boob every hour and crying in between feedings- he sent us to the emergency room. There is a concern when an infant between 5-8 weeks has a fever because it could mean she has an infection, which can only be detected by blood and urine tests. So we went to CHOP' emergency room, which was a fairly pleasant experience as far as emergency room visits go. We had our own room with a curtain, we went through triage very quickly, and the nurses were very pleasant and attentive.
(It also didn't hurt that the first attending physician and the doctor on call were attractive tee hee hee)
I should mention that Tuesday I had an awful stomach bug. My husband had to stay home to care for Tallu because I couldn't. I was frightened that she would catch it, so between the constant feedings, her feeling warm to me, and this piercing cry she made when she woke from a nap Friday I flipped out. But she was fine, so we did not have to spend two days in the hospital.
I was feeling kinda crappy this weekend. It's so hard to live with an inconsolable baby who is suckling at my teets every hour, or hour and a half, and crying when she's not suckling or snoring, and I'm running on very little sleep. I can ask "what's wrong" til you're hoarse, but the baby will only answer "WAAH! AA-WAAH!" That doesn't answer the question. Well, I guess it does, but I don't understand what it means yet. Now I'm enjoying the peace and quiet, and updating my blog.
I have to slather myself with lanolin- the teets are feeling a little raw. No one's reading this, now that I've had the baby who cares, right? Knock on wood, there's no bleeding or cracking, but I have had a bump that she would touch. It's gone now, thanks to the lanolin. Have I said breastfeeding isn't easy yet? That's a separate entry...
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
I cried after the first casting- I waited til we were in the car on the way home. It's painful hearing your week old baby cry because the doctor is bending her leg and putting a heavy cast on it. I gotta stop now...we have a pizza delivery coming, and I need to hold her. The harness is holding her left and right legs at ninety degree angles, and it's pretty uncomfortable, to hear her tell it.
Don't have to stop- Tim laid her down in a good position, so I won't move her.
There is good news in all this- Tallulah's weight is up, which means she's getting enough food from me, the walking buffet. She's now 6 lbs 11 oz. Breastfeeding is not as romantic as La Leche League would have your believe, at least not for me. It's not easy, and it did not come naturally for either of us. We had to go to a lactation consultant, who watched us breastfeed in her office. She was helpful, and now Tallulah is always eatin. ALWAYS!! Sometimes once an hour for three hours, sometimes every two-three hours. Gotta go, she's crying
Wednesday, April 9, 2008
My water broke at 12:33am on Saturday morning. I thought I'd peed again, but when I returned to bed I was still leaking. I waited about a half hour before I peeled the covers away from my husband to wake him up. We hemmed and hawed for another ten minutes about calling the midwife. I smelled the wet spot on my bed and it did not smell like ammonia, which I told the midwife on the phone. She said it sounded like I was in labor. Because I was 36 weeks I could not give birth at the birthing center, so she told me to head for Chestnut Hill Hospital- they'd check me out.
I was so unprepared for a trip to the hospital. My mom (who was in town for the shower with our four year old nephew) was asleep in the living room. I woke her up to say we were leaving for the hospital, and the three of us scrambled around the house getting a bag packed, just in case I would have to stay. My husband and I are laughing the whole time, I'm shaking my head chanting "This is fucking ridiculous!" Even in the car we were in total disbelief.
The CHH midwife on duty took a swab of my vagina to check the fluid, which was indeed amniotic fluid. She told me to get comfy cuz the baby was coming today. Labor started slowly in the car, it felt like I was having menstrual cramps. The labor gradually picked up, and by 5 or 6 AM I was deep in it.
People describe labor as a marathon. I've never run a marathon so I dunno. I'd say it's more like hiking. My labor pains felt like the worst cramps I've ever had. I keep telling my girlfriends that the good news is you never go back to ground zero in labor, so your body does get used to the increasing intensity. When people tell you to rest between contractions, listen to them. The contractions are doing all the work at this point, you just have to ride the wave. How you do that is up to you. I did a lot of humming through contractions- loudly at times. I sat on the birth ball, my husband massaged my back and hips, I puked, I pooped, laid down, fading in and out of consciousness between contractions.
Melecia, the midwife on duty from the Center, came to CHH at 7 am. My doula reached us around 9 or 10. Ladies, find a doula - a good doula. You will need a lot of help in labor and you will need someone there to attend to your every need, even if you can't verbalize it. I was very blessed to have my doula, a very attentive husband, and a midwife who massaged held my hand and rubbed my feet and legs in the room with me. They are the reason I made it through an unmedicated childbirth.
I felt the urge to push around 11 am. Melecia checked me and said I was ready to go! Contractions are one thing, pushing is an experience that I can't even pretend to describe. Pushing is the hardest part, and the only advice I can offer you is to remain calm, do not fight your body, and be patient- the baby comes down, then slides back a little- two steps forward, one step back.
My daughter has a tiny head, but that shit hurt coming out! I asked for drugs but everyone ignored me. I told them I was having a C-section next time as I pushed out her shoulders. Pushing the rest of her out was a great relief, and now she's here, and we love her very much. I told my husband he has to have the next one, cuz I'm not doing this again. Other women who've had children say the amnesia will set in and I'll do it again.
So, I didn't get my water birth. But it was a beautiful experience, and I got to leave work two weeks earlier than expected. Tallulah was fed up with them triflin so-and-sos, and so was I :-)
Monday, March 31, 2008
Lu and I haven't been discharged from the hospital yet, we're waiting for her to pass the car seat test.
More details later...
Friday, March 28, 2008
Today was another midwife's appointment, and so far so good. Now is when your doctor/midwife will test for Group B strep. It's a common bacteria that lives in your colon but sometimes migrates to your vag. It's harmless to you and more often than not asymptomatic, so if you have an outbreak you wouldn't notice. The concern is that if you do have Group B and it goes undectected during childbirth, the baby can inhale the bacteria upon exit and develop pneumonia. No one wants that. So if you do have GBS you'll receive antibiotics intravenously every four to eight hours while you're in labor. You can still deliver vaginally (and in my case in the birth center) should the results come back positive.
I'd read women complaining about this test on a message board. Compared to a Pap smear this was nothing-no speculum needed, and it's a very quick swipe. I guess some issues women had were the discomfort and being left alone to take the sample. My midwife took the sample, and as I was laying there I couldn't see her head for my mountanous stomach. Can't imagine being expected to swab my own coot when I can't even see it!
Once she took the sample, my midwife asked if I wanted her to check my cervix. She said it wasn't necessary, but I figured since she was down there we may as well find out what's going on. As of this afternoon my cervix was one centimeter dilated, and 70% effaced. She said this is no indication of what could happen ten minutes from now, but the 70% effaced is very good. It means come labor time I will have less cervical thinning to do. The baby is still in the vertex position (head down), another good thing. Midwife also said I have a good stomach for feeling the baby.
I'm having lots of trouble getting out of bed. I'm going to try to sleep sitting up, propped up with pillows. It's so uncomfortable trying to turn from right to left, then lifting myself up.
My leave has been accepted. All I had to do was send a reminder email, along with the request I submitted a month ago, to the HR lady with a copy to the prez. HR lady saw me in the elevator last night and says "Oh, I thought our conversation would suffice, but I'll draft you a letter."
The conversation went like something like this: "Hi, I got your request. We've been pretty busy with the gala, and I've got to talk to the president about your leave, but it shouldn't be a problem." I know I'm considerably younger than most of the staff, but I'm not stupid. Some things need to be in writing, and if I submit a request for leave in writing, I expect an acceptance or denial in writing. Always leave a paper trail, that's my motto.
I guess that's it for now. Oh- I'm officially scaring people at work. I get concerned looks when I lift anything like empty boxes. A guest helped me push an empty flatbed up part of the ramp (I was only taking it to the elevator, calm down!), and a co-worker refused to let me load the boxes of quilts on the flatbed, push it to the elevator, and take it to the gallery for preparation, so she helped (and I appreciate it.)
But I've got a job to do, and two weeks left to do it. Hallelujah!!!!
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
I'm hungry, but I can't really eat. I missed taking my blood sugar level 2 hrs after din-din (fell asleep). I could take my fasting level now and have a snack. Have I said I hate this GD yet? It's so irritating, all this damned monitoring and food portioning. I'm pregnant, I'm supposed to be able to eat what I want, when I want. *sigh* whatever...must remember the wages of indulgence for me are a hospital birth or a C-section...I'll check myself and have some cottage cheese as a snack.
Just throwing it out there- if any of you wanna get me a post-partum gift: jelly doughnuts...
I received a wonderful compliment on Easter Sunday. Daddy-to-be is taking a samba drumming class on Sundays. We went after church, and since there are no spectators, I stood for two hours playing the agogo (three bells played with drumstick). After class a woman said that I was very strong for being able to stand for so long and keep up. I told her I felt like since no one else was taking a break I couldn't wuss out :-) After watching the ladies at work stare at my stomach and remind me how large it's growing every week I appreciate another woman praising me for taking care of myself. I thanked her for saying what I needed to hear. The months of taking the stairs at work and walking the hills and steps to and from the train station are working!
As you approach B-day ladies, it's important to remember that you are strong. Your body can and will bring this baby out. If it happens you need (or choose) to have a C-section, know that you will heal and all will be well. Don't be discouraged by all that "Oh, you're getting so big now..you're gonna blow any minute now" banter. You're pregnant. The baby is growing. Your body is doing exactly what it's supposed to do. (Can you tell I've been reading Ina May's book? I'm telling you, it's a must-read, even if you're not pregnant!)
Speaking of which, I'm going to draw some blood so I can get some grub. Peace out, y'all...
Sunday, March 23, 2008
"Umm, you do realize you don't lie down to use the toilet," I thought.
"OH SHIT! STOP!"
The flow obeyed. When I opened my eyes I was still laying on my left side in bed, feeling warm and wet. This was not a sign of preterm labor. I just peed my bed, is all.
It's a good thing we bought the waterproof mattress pad...
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
I'm not just saying that because Obama's biracial, or because I think this man needs to be the next president of the United States. (Or because he gave the speech two blocks away from my job.)
It is on the New York Times website, CNN's website, and other places I'm sure.
Find it, print it, read it!
Monday, March 17, 2008
1) That's boring- we'd rather spend the time with our guests, most of whom are coming from out of town.
2) How many times can we say "Oh, how cute!" "Wow, we really need that!" "I didn't know they made that in this size!"
3) If you really wanna see what the baby got, come visit the baby after its born. Besides, I caved on telling family and friends the sex of the baby. I've been more than gracious when people touch my stomach. Do I have to share the gifts too?
4) What if some people don't bring gifts? There's no law saying you have to, and we don't want people to feel uncomfortable about coming without a physical gift. Your presence is gift enough. (aren't we disgusting!)
The baby's room is still not ready, tee hee hee. We just signed up for a one day, five hour intensive childbirth class for the Sunday after our un-shower. It's a good deal- the teacher will come to our house, bring snacks, and we only have to sit still for five hours, not travel somewhere for 6 to 12 weeks.
The midwife gave me a list of signs of pre-term labor. It is the birth center's policy to stop pre-term labor before 37 weeks. (I figure your practioner will have her own rules, so don't take that as gospel for all pregnancies.) If I have Braxton Hicks contractions that last longer than two minutes, bloody show, painful uterine cramps that don't go away with rest and plenty of water, or 4 to 6 contractions in one hour I must call the center.
I also have started to prepare an emergency contact list. The owner of our neighborhood cafe asked if I had such a list, in case I go into labor when my husband's not around. As foolish as this sounds, I never imagined he'd be away. It's especially naive of me, considering we live in Philly and he works in Central Jersey- DOH! The cafe owner offered to be a contact person, as well as two friends in the city who are new moms. I have to call a cab company to find out how much a ride out to the center costs from my house, and have that much cash on hand, just in case the backup people can't make it either.
I'm still waiting to hear from the HR Dept if my leave has been approved. I submitted that request the last week in February, and the leave is supposed to begin in 4 weeks. Am I supposed to follow up on this? If I haven't heard anything by the end of this week I'll say something.
I have a good pregnancy book to recommend: Ina May's Guide to Childbirth, by Ina May Gaskin. The first part contains child birthing stories that run the gamut from homebirth to hospital birth, unmedicated to medicated, vaginal, c-sections and unexpected complications. The second part explains labor and childbirth without scaring the bejeezis out of you. There are graphic pictures, but you may as well look at them because it is what it is. The more you familiarize your subconscious with what is to come the less scared you'll be.
(My midwife has known Ina May Gaskin for many years. So I really am in good hands...)