Sunday, May 18, 2008

The Coffeeshop Entry

My husband is in a samba school that meets on Sundays, and he dropped me off at a coffeeshop avec le bebe. Dude, I am such an ecrivant, peppering my sentences with french words. Meanwhile, I've hurled Tallu over my shoulder like a sack of potatoes- I'm sorry, sac du pommes de terre- trying to get a belch, and typing with my left hand between back pats. Tell me this is how JK Rowling began on the road to becoming richer than Her Majesty!

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

Market Research/6 Week Check-up

I went to a breastfeeding focus group this afternoon. I didn't contribute much because there were more seasoned moms who had much more to say. But I did sign up for product research...trying nursing bras and other clothing and products...that means free stuff!!!! Now that I aint got no money (yay unpaid 6 weeks maternity leave!) market research sounds exciting.

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

Sure It's Natural, But It Ain't Easy

Breastfeeding has been a physical and psychological challenge for me. First I had no milk, then I didnt have enough. Now I have the milk, but it seems she wants it all the time. I can't go anywhere, I can't eat, because it feels like she's always eating. My husband likes to rub my back or touch me when I'm feeding Tallu, which annoys the hell outta me (he knows, so I'm not dropping a bombshell here.) Right now my breasts are filling up, which feels like pins and needles throughout the whole breast. I totally understand why women choose to bottle feed. There are times when I've made her a bottle or two because I needed a rest. Selfish? Sure, but she ate. I didn't take my frustration out on her

Uh-oh...she's starting to scrunch up her face...gotta go...


So, the baby and her father are asleep.

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...