Monday, December 20, 2010

SAHM transition

So I used to be a lawyer - worked hard, played hard, and wore ridiculously expensive high heels and dry-clean-only outfits to work.  Then I traded that in for jeans and a laid-back 40-hours-a-week-maybe lab job.  Then I rolled into the 24/7 spit-up-on-sweats job of a stay at home mom.  All in less than two years and I'm pretty sure I'm having a little bit of trouble adjusting.

Part of it is this particular week.  We're driving to Plano for Christmas with the dog and the baby, then R is driving back a few days later with the dog, and Lia and I are flying back a week after that.  So I'm packing for a road trip with a dog and both a road trip and a flight with a baby.  Not that huge of a deal, except I've never done it before.  What am I going to forget and am I going to be able to fit it all in two suitcases?  Add in Christmas shopping, wrapping gifts, and keeping up with the house and I'm stressing.  Add in all the nursing and pumping I'm doing to stockpile several days' worth of breastmilk for our trip in late January, and I'm exhausted with only an hour here and there to actually get any work done.

I'm also struggling to adjust to being this boring and stupid.  I used to take pride in the fact that I could speak intelligently about current events and my particular areas of job-related "expertise."  Now, I found out that DADT was repealed from SNL, and R asked me what I thought of the tax cut legislation and I had to reply, "Oh, what happened with that?"  I'm learning all about child development and infant sleep habits but no one (other than other moms) really wants to have in-depth conversations about that (and other moms are probably as sick of it as I am - there's really only so much you can know about sleep cycles).  I'd like to make an effort to read more, especially to keep up with the outside world, but it's hard to find the time.

And I'm struggling with being on-the-job round-the-clock.  Actually, I'm okay with that part; it's more that I'm having trouble watching R come home from work and relax in the evenings and on the weekends.  He's off the clock.  And yes, I hand him the baby, but he holds her in his lap while he plays computer games... while I'm handing her off so I can fold laundry or do dishes.  Since I don't have a paying job, I feel like my contribution to the household is to keep it running smoothly - dinner, laundry, keep baby alive, etc., but it's just never ending.  I know this is the plight of all SAHM's, but I'm still struggling with it.  I would like two hours to just get all my crap done and then another hour to take a bath and a nap.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Finally Freaking Friday!

As in my former life, I live for the weekends, but now because it means R will be home and we can do stuff as a family.  This week has felt like one long-ass wait for the weekend, but it's almost here!

Lia's been a pain in the butt today.  She was a champ at the mall this morning (finishing up last-minute Christmas errands) and she was all smiles for me several times today during diaper changes, but she is just refusing to nap today.  I know she's tired, but she'd rather nurse just a little, get her diaper changed, then doze off, then wake up and start the process over again.  I don't know how she does it but it feels like she can sense when I step out of her nursery and it forces her wide awake again.  Oh well, it's so totally normal that I feel like I shouldn't be bitching.

Speaking of not bitching, her nighttime sleep is rocking.  We're getting a solid 7 and 1/2 hour stretch at night on a somewhat reliable basis now.  It's nothing we're doing, it's all Lia, but I'll take it.  Somehow I haven't managed to sleep a solid 7.5 hour stretch myself yet but I'm hoping it'll come for me soon.  :)

On an adult note, tonight is Date Night!  I wasn't sure we were going to get one this weekend but today R's parents offered to watch the baby for a few hours tonight.  We've got just enough time to have a leisurely dinner, and I'm psyched.  Now I need to go find things to talk about that aren't baby-related.  (Seriously - how can I stay a somewhat interesting person when all I do all day is nurse, change diapers, and do dishes and laundry?)

And this weekend I think R and I are buying new phones.  I've had the iPhone for several years and I'm trying to figure out what to go with this time.  I object in principle to Apple's censorship of the apps and it's store, but is that really enough to take a chance with a new phone and OS?  I'm researching now and torn...

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Four small victories today:

1.  Lia definitely smiled at me this morning!  It's the most beautiful thing in the world.

2.  I bought my dad's Christmas present.  He's so hard to shop for but I finally got an idea, and thanks to the wonders of the internet, it should be on my doorstep in a few days!  And with that, I'm pretty sure my Christmas shopping is done.  :)  Now I need to wrap, and confirm with R that we're not getting each other anything this year (otherwise I'm in trouble!).

3.  Found a place that will board White Bunny while we're out of town.  I can't believe we'll be paying as much as we will just to make sure the rabbit doesn't fall over and die, but it is what it is.  Luckily this place is nearby and has room for him over the holidays.

4.  Aaand, I got out for an unexpected girls' event!  I'm usually terrible at being spontaneous, nor am I the most social of creatures, but I got a last-minute invite to a make-up party at the mall down the street this evening and I took it.  It was so nice to get out and talk to adults other than Robert.  (He's great but I feel like my social circle has shrunk to miniscule proportions in the last few weeks and that I'm totally losing touch with the outside world.)  And I love my daughter but it was great to take an hour off from her.  I used a purse instead of a giant diaper bag!  It made me really miss getting dressed up, working, socializing, and pretty much everything that goes with being an independent adult, but I'm still so glad I got a little taste of it again.  Thanks Stephanie!  :)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Dusting this thing off

So it's been awhile... I've been busy with life.  I've been spending less and less time online as my "real life" has become all-encompassing, but I view that as a good thing.

Lia is doing really well.  She's over 11 pounds now - quite the little sack of potatoes!  She's coming off the end of a growth spurt right now, so she's still a little cranky from that but evening out more and more each day.  She's seven weeks today and just starting to really give us some quality social time each day.  She coos at us and makes noises like she's trying to talk to us.  And she gives Robert big smiles in the evenings, although she's a very serious little baby for me during the day.  Not grumpy, just very serious.  And today I'm pretty sure she learned that she can move her head from side to side; it was pretty cool to watch her figure that out.

She loves baths... until we get to the end.

Big stretch!

Tired mommy.

Our other "child," Scrappy, has been a handful lately.  I finally insisted that she go to doggie day care today because she's just been way too energetic for me.  (If the weather were nicer, it'd be no problem, but long walks and single-digit temperatures just don't go together.)  It was great.  She's spent the whole night laying around, finally out of energy for once!  She's been loving the snow we've gotten though.  It's been endearing to watch her play around and pounce in the backyard.

On a more serious note, White Bunny is not doing well.  Well, he's sort of not doing well.  (Background - he's an extremely old (11 years? 12 years?) rabbit that we somehow inherited from my sister.  He lives in the basement and is cute but antisocial - he just hops around in his pen and eats his hay and has a pretty boring but cushy bunny-life.)  We keep finding him on his side, laying down unable to get back up.  We flip him back up and he's fine, but he can't seem to right himself on his own.  He's eating and otherwise seems pretty okay for being ancient, but this doesn't seem sustainable.  Especially since we'll be out of town for several days over the holidays - what if he falls over that first day?  He'll die of dehydration before we're back in town.  We keep thinking he's dying and this is his last night alive, and he's always alive in the morning.  Not that I want him to die, but I don't know if he's suffering.  And I certainly don't want him to suffer for several days then die when no one's around.  *sigh*

Well, that's a brief update on the dependents in our family.  I'm hoping to get back online and update on R and I sometime very soon.  :)

Friday, December 3, 2010

She's a real person!

It's like Lia suddenly became a real person overnight!  She went from this unresponsive, hungry little tyrant to a tiny little person.  Yesterday she just did not want to be put in the sling, which is unusual because it usually settles her down.  I finally got her quiet by holding her so she was facing out - she just wanted to look around.  Then we laid down on the bed and she stared at the fan for awhile (her favorite) and then she just stared at me and the stuff around her and wiggled her arms and legs all around.  It was like I could see her soaking up her environment and starting to discover that her hands are hers.  

Today was even better.  She had a long period of that with me, twenty minutes or so, and then another one with Robert.  I got out her activity mat - courtesy of her great-grandparents - and Robert tried that out with her.  It's amazing, she was fascinated by it.  She's never been that interested in anything so far!

Her sleep is getting better.  She isn't really sleeping long stretches at night, but she's going down pretty reliably in the late evening and typically sleeping for three four-hour stretches in a row.  It's still rough on me because I'm usually up for two hours in the middle of the night, between feeding, diaper changes, and pumping.  I also eliminated all caffeine a few days ago, afraid that it was keeping her up, so I'm exhausted.  Thankfully it's Friday and R is around to help out this weekend!

She's also been sleeping in her crib.  She's totally cool with it, I'm the one with the problem!  I'm still a little freaked out to have her so far away (relatively) but I'm getting better.  As much as I love having her sleep in our bed with us, if she's okay with sleeping in her crib, it seems to be the better long-term plan.  We can always move her back to our bed later if we want but it'd be much harder to try to move her to a crib in a few months.

In other news - Robert finished his MBA this week!  He graduates next Friday, but his classes are over.  I'm really proud of him.  It was a lot of extra work for a degree that's surely going to be helpful, but not necessarily translate to a new job or higher salary right away.  So he didn't have to go back to school, but he did.  I'm so impressed that he tackled it like he did.  He really kicked some ass in his classes, particularly since he was working full-time.  :)  Lia's got a lot to look up to!  Congrats, Bobby!

Monday, November 29, 2010

The good stuff...

Watching football with Dad

Aaaand - action!

Too big for newborn size, too small for 3 month

Quiet alert

Big yawn!  (Yes I say that every time she yawns)

Time to put on the crankypants

Messing with a good thing

So we're shaking up our bedtime routine (if you can call it a routine).  Since the second night home, Lia has been sleeping in our bed in something like this:

I love it, absolutely love it.  While I still have to get up and go to the nursery to change her diaper in the middle of the night, night nursing is a breeze, and it could not be any easier for me to look over and check on her when she starts to make weird noises or conversely, she's been unusually quiet and I'm suddenly afraid that she's dead.  I have moderate hearing loss, so it's extra nice for me to know I'm not going to miss her cries in the middle of the night.

So, what's the problem?  Lia's getting too big for it!  She still fits now but we're getting to the point where we need to start transitioning to Plan B.  Problem is, we can't really come up with a good Plan B.  Lia's nursery is right next to our bedroom, so it seems the most practical to start getting all of us used to her sleeping in her crib at night.  I've considered all sorts of other options, from buying a co-sleeper (tough to fit in our already-cramped bedroom), to moving L and I to the guest room bed (would need to buy rails for the bed, plus then R and I are sleeping apart indefinitely) to buying a new mattress for our king bed (our pillowtop now is too soft and unsafe for L, but we love it), to me sleeping on the floor in the nursery (obviously not my favorite, and unsustainable).  I never thought I'd be one of those moms who wanted to sleep with their children, never in a million years, but it's been working for us - we all get more sleep this way - and I love it.  I love having L nearby and being able to look over and see her little face.  I love knowing that she's right there, safe with us, and we can respond immediately if something's wrong.  I love being able to check her hands and make sure she's not too hot or too cold (totally don't have the 'dressing a newborn in the winter' thing down yet).  Bottom line, I love having my whole little family cuddling together in bed.

But, we've got to find a sustainable option that results in everyone getting the maximum amount of sleep.  So, last night, I tried putting Lia down in her crib after her 1:30 am feeding.  She typically goes down really well after her middle-of-the-night feeding so it seemed like a good time to try out the crib thing, and she was pretty good.  She slept there until 4:30, when I think she woke up because she was cold (I botched the swaddling job) and decided she was hungry.  I gave up after that feeding and put her back in our bed for the rest of the night/morning.  When she was cribbing it, I put the baby monitor in bed between R and I, and we both heard it and responded, which was reassuring.  Unfortunately, I was not so cool - I was wired for awhile after I put her down, just listening to and watching the monitors and being sad because my baby wasn't in bed with me.  (Maybe I cried a little - what is going on?  This is so not me.)  Since she was tough to get down for the night earlier last night, I ended up getting only a few 1.5 hour stretches of sleep total.  I'm not sure whether to blame the crib transition or not - maybe it was just a rough night for us and would have been regardless.  And maybe, for the first night of working on a new sleep thing, it didn't go so poorly - she did go to sleep, easily, in her crib for a few hours.  But, I'm not sure this is the solution for us.  R and I both got less sleep because of Plan B than we would have normally.  We'll see.  For now, L and I are going to have a very low-key, quiet, stay-at-home day.  If we do go out of the house, it'll be for Starbucks.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Brain Dump

Lia is with Grandma right now so this is my chance to update.  Things are going well.  Lia was four weeks old yesterday (!!!) and we celebrated by doing some Christmas shopping.  It's actually easier for me to take her out to run errands than to stay home and try to get things done around the house.  She likes riding in the car, and I pop her into my wrap once we get somewhere, and we have a grand old time browsing around.  The only downside is that it's starting to get cold here so it's tough to run errands at several different places, in and out of the car. It's much easier to just head to the mall but the mall only has so much....

Our nights have been a little tough lately, mostly rough on Robert since he takes the early evening baby shift.  Lia's been Grumpy McFussypants from about 7:00 to 11:00 at night lately.  I know it's typical, and it does help to remind myself that it's a phase, it's temporary, and it's very very normal.  But it's also tough to deal with a screaming infant.  She wants to nurse pretty much that entire time, which is frustrating for me, but it's also frustrating for Robert when he's on duty since he can't really placate her with anything.  (Although she does reliably calm down to the "Oscillating Fan" noise on the White Noise app for the iPhone.)  But, last night went a little better.  I think we were both more patient and gentle with her, and knock on wood, she seemed to respond to that.  Regardless, I'm anticipating her six-week birthday since I keep hearing that babies get easier by then.  (Gonna be pretty bummed when she doesn't magically turn into Angel Baby in one week, six days from now!)

And in light of the evening shenanigans, we've been talking about starting to supplement Lia's diet with formula.  On one hand, it'd take a load off of me (I'm pumping like a maniac now to put together her evening bottle), I think we'd all end up ultimately getting more sleep, and I think we're going to have to  put her on part formula anyways when we're apart for two out-of-town trips in the spring.  On the other hand, I don't want it to be the first step on to a slippery slope that ends with her getting 100% formula in a few weeks.  (I don't have any issue with formula, honestly, I just like nursing - and its convenience and price - so I don't want to stop yet.)  I've been going to a new moms' group at the hospital where I delivered, and they all had some nice insight, and R and I have been talking it over, so we'll hopefully make a decision in a few days.

So, I need some pictures of the baby to post up here but I don't have any super-recent ones, so I'll just post my update.  Four weeks after giving birth, I feel pretty much back to normal.  My endurance is low but I'm definitely stronger and I can walk uphill again without dying.  I know I've said this before, but I was terrified of being pregnant.  I read every "Symptom of Pregnancy" list and thought I'd get every single one and by the end of the nine months I'd be a swollen, hemorrhoidy, hairy, gassy, stretch-mark clad hormonal beast.  I wish someone had told me that it's not necessarily that way.  I never got: morning sickness, hemorrhoids, UTIs or yeast infections, high blood pressure, varicose veins, crazy cravings, out-of-control appetite, out-of-control mood swings, painful Braxton-Hicks, or incontinence.  I had only very mild general edema, intestinal disturbances, heartburn, and increased appetite.  I was terrified of stretch marks, and I have none on my stomach or anywhere else but a few on my boobs (which mostly appeared after delivery, ironically enough).  I was pretty tired for most of the first trimester, and by the very last two or three weeks of the pregnancy, I was pretty exhausted too.  I also struggled to keep up with my (mostly) daily walks and I could tell that my body was just having some trouble carrying around all the extra weight by the very end.  But all very normal and very manageable.  Really, it wasn't that bad.  I ended up gaining about 40 pounds (maybe more but I refused to step on a scale the last two weeks so I'm just going with 40!), which was of course more than I'd wanted to, but I lost 20 of it by a week after delivery.  Another 5 dropped off the second week, and now I'm just waiting for that other 15 to disappear.  I hear it won't until I wean Lia, but I'm determined to get back in shape and hopefully shed at least some of that extra weight sometime soon.  Soon-ish.  Maybe after the holidays.  ;)

Recall: delivery day

One week postpartum

Two weeks pp

Three weeks pp

Four weeks pp
Most of the change happened in the first two weeks and I expect improvement to go slowly from here on out.  Hopefully soon I'll post pics of Lia and her development, which is way more interesting!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Well there is so much going on and at the same time so little.  Lia is getting more alert by the day - I can't believe she's already 3+ weeks old!  She'll focus on our faces now, and sometimes even track things going across her field of vision.  Once I smiled at her and she smiled back (which I know is just coincidence at this early age but I'll still pretend it was intentional!).  The books say she can't smile socially yet but that she will smile out of contentedness, and I think we're getting an occasional contented smile. :) She seems to be less edgy and a little calmer overall.

Yes that's a dog nose dangerously close to her head.  She got a lick right after I snapped this!

Yes my little peanut?

That's how much you love me?!

Seriously the most adorable baby ever.

Lia went to Grandma's house yesterday for a few hours.  It was bittersweet for me - I don't know how I'm going to handle her going to school in a couple years!  I felt all lonely watching Grandma drive off with my baby.  But, they had a great time, and I got a massage and went shopping and collapsed on the couch for a little bit.

I had to buy pants in a size that I've never bought before in my life, which was incredibly depressing, especially as I hear more and more that the last of the baby weight doesn't come off until the baby is weaned.  So I feel kind of doomed.  On the other hand, I got a pair of Sevens for $34.99 (thank you TJ Maxx!) so that mitigates things a little.  I have postpartum photos but I haven't gotten the courage to post them yet.  I'd much rather post adorable photos of Lia.  I know I'm biased but she is just the most beautiful baby ever.

Aunt Sarah is coming in to visit tonight.  We're excited to have her!  Hopefully we'll get out a little, do something fun, and have more photos to post in a few days.  :)

Friday, November 12, 2010

8 lbs, 1.5 oz!

Lia was 8 lbs, 1.5 ounces at the doctor's office on Wednesday!  She's gained about an ounce a day since we left the hospital.  That's seriously crazy.  Again, I'm amazed that this little creature is subsisting entirely on milk that is coming out of my boobs.  And I'm kind of proud of myself too.  :P

"Undress my baby for the doctor, you say?  But she's so cute in her outfit!  I'll just take some pictures of her instead."

"Oh she's pretty cute this way too."

I'm hoping to get in to a routine soon.  I have family in this weekend, then Monday we're officially on our own, Lia and I.  On one hand, I'm excited to try taking care of Baby all by myself, and on the other hand, it doesn't really excite me.  It's been really nice to have my mom here these past two weeks.  Like, last night, I handed her a bottle and the baby at 3:15 pm, and slept until 9:00.  I won't be able to do that once she leaves.  I have a great mother-in-law in town who is more than willing to help out and watch Lia, so I'm not entirely on my own, but it's just different from having someone who's actually living in the same house.

Anyways, we're off to the hospital to get Lia's heel stuck again.  I guess they screwed up some of the newborn screening tests so we have to get them repeated.  The doctor assured me it doesn't mean there's anything wrong with any of them, but I'm still a little worried.  But honestly, I'm more upset that they have to hurt my little baby again because someone out there messed up. 

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A few quiet moments...

It's just been one thing after another here.  Lia is a great little baby but she's still a newborn and on that three-hour cycle of eat, poop, sleep and repeat.  Right now is perhaps the first few minutes of quiet time I've had since my last blog post.  I put her in her crib (she's barely spent any time in there so far - she's been sleeping in our room at night) and I'm on the other side of the house and kind of a nervous wreck.  I have two baby monitors by my side and I keep checking on her.  She's fine, of course - just sleeping adorably - so I'm trying to turn this into a lesson for me in chilling the f out.

We have a pediatrician's appointment this afternoon, just the routine two-week check-up.  I'm totally excited to see how much weight she's gained.  I mean, I grew her inside my stomach from an itty bitty blastocyst to an actual baby, but I'm somehow more amazed that I alone am keeping her alive with milk that's coming out of my boobs.  It's magical, seriously.

The weather here is freaking gorgeous.  My body has made it clear that I need to take it easy for a little bit longer, so I haven't been able to walk the dog or head to the park as much as I'd have liked, but I think I'm going to go sit outside and bask in the sun a little rather than keep playing on the internet.  Right after I go check on the baby again...

Didn't I say I was going to wrap her up in hoodie towels every day and take pictures?  Hard to tell in this photo but it's a duck.  Totally adorbs.

Check out those baby reflexes!  She's so smart.

She's so much cuter in person, I can't even tell you guys.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Keeping up with life?

It's been a few days since my last post, but honestly it's been so busy with so much nothing that I haven't felt compelled to write.  But I've got a few minutes in the quiet of the morning so I thought I'd put a brief update out there.

Lia is doing awesome.  She's gotten a little bit fussier, compared to her first few days home from the hospital, but nothing too bad, and still way below average.  She is breastfeeding like a champ, which is phenomenal.  I heard so many horror stories about bf'ing (hmm, just like pregnancy and birth) but we haven't really had major problems (hmm, just like pregnancy and birth).  Although, Lia's a champ, so the bf'ing success is probably more to her credit than my own.  I'm sleeping a bit better because I'm finally internalizing that every little coo and cry doesn't mean she's upset or hungry, and I can just ignore 90% of the noises she makes.  She's been great as far as nighttime sleeping.  It takes awhile to get her settled in the evenings, but she sleeps from about 10:00 to 2:00, then it's up for a feeding and a diaper change and she goes back down again from about 3:00 to 6:00.  A far cry from my previous life sleep schedule, but all told, not that bad.  We've been out to the park twice this week, and today we're going to the mall since the weather's supposed to be crummy.  I'm really excited to get out of the house.  I always go a little stir-crazy when I've been stuck inside too long.  I'm anxious to see how an actual outing goes.  And retail therapy never hurts.  :)

Monday, November 1, 2010


So I pretty much have the best baby ever.  She had a feeding last night around 9:00 pm, then another at 2:25 am, and now it's 6:30 am and I'm sitting here in bed waiting for her to wake up again.  *grin*

Sunday, October 31, 2010


So this post might border on the TMI side, but I'd like to write it out just for me, even if no one wants to read it.

The last pregnant shot at home.
 Our induction appointment was at 1:00 AM on Tuesday, October 26th, 2010.  I slept about an hour on Monday night, then got up to shower and call to confirm the appointment at midnight.  They said to come in about 1:15 and they could take me.  Robert and I head to the hospital.
At the hospital.

We get shown to my labor and delivery room.  Robert realizes he’s left his cell phone at the house so he runs back to get it as I sit there and wait for a nurse to come in.  Two nurses come in, take some medical history, draw blood, and start IV fluids.  I also get hooked up to two monitors – one to track contractions and one to monitor Baby’s heartbeat.  They check me – baby is at -2 station and I’m barely a fingertip dilated and 50% effaced.  The nurses disappear to go get doctor’s orders on what they should do to start the induction.  An hour later (did they forget about me?), I page the nurses’ station to find out how to pee with all these things hooked up to me.  A nurse comes right in and says we’ll start with Cervidil, a prostaglandin to help get my cervix ready for Pitocin in the morning.  It’s a little before 5:00 AM by the time this happens.  I’m not allowed to eat, drink, or get up for an hour, so Robert and I shut our eyes and sleep a little.

A little before 6:00, I wake up with these weird periodic urges to pee, and I realize that they’re mild contractions.  I hang out with these very mild contractions until my OB comes by a little after 8:00.  She checks me – Baby’s still at -2, I’m about 80% effaced, and dilated just a smidgen more but not much.  She decides to check in with me at lunchtime.  Robert and I play Trivial Pursuit and read a bit while the contractions get stronger.  They’re regular – about two to three minutes apart – and slowly getting stronger. 

Contractions are to the point where I give a few really dumb answers to Trivial Pursuit questions and decide to just rest in bed.  We pop in a DVD.  About 12:30 PM, the doctor comes back in.  Since I haven’t made much progress, she decides to take out the Cervidil and see what happens, with the plan being to break my water that afternoon.  So, the Cervidil comes out (what weird stuff that is!) and I shut my eyes for some rest.  The contractions stay pretty much the same, but gradually decrease in intensity over the next few hours. 

At 3:30 PM, I request an epidural, not so much because the contractions are too much to handle, but because the OB and the nurse both said I’d definitely want one before my water gets broken, and the OB was planning to come back around 4:00.  Right away, the anesthesiologist comes in, wheeling his cart full of magic.  I sit on the edge of the bed while he numbs the area, inserts the needle, then inserts the epidural tube thingie itself.  Robert watches this whole process with interest (although the nurse did make him sit to watch it – “hospital protocol”).  Since I can’t see what’s going on, I’m convinced that there’s a tube the size of a straw sticking out straight out of my back.  I’m assured this isn’t the case but I’m still kind of uncomfortable with the idea.  I change my mind pretty quickly when I can see the contractions on the monitor but can’t feel them in the least.  Magical.  My right leg is totally numb and floppy, but I can still feel and move my left a little.

As promised, the OB comes by a little after 4:00 to break my water.  She says, oddly, that I’m dilated to about 3 cm on the inside of my cervix but only about a cm or two on the outside.  Again, not being able to see this, the picture in my mind is pretty weird.  She strips my membranes, the immediately after, sticks what Robert described as a chopstick into my cervix and breaks my water.  Very strange sensation, and the nurse chided her for making a mess (I must have missed the class on how one’s water can break and not make a mess).  They start Pitocin, my OB tells me who’s on call for the night, and she wishes me luck.  For the next several hours, I doze while the Pitocin and contractions do their thing.  Robert heads home to let the dog out. 

When he comes back between 7:00 and 8:00, the evening nurse shift has started.  Every half hour or so, my nurse comes in to help me flip over and up the Pitocin, but in between, Robert and I chat a little and I doze.  Around 9:00 or 9:30, the nurse comes in and says that Baby’s heartbeat is dipping with each contraction.  She inserts an intrauterine contraction monitor and we start to shift me around to get Baby more comfortable.  After a few failed attempts, the nurse has me get on my hands and knees, which was a little comical since I still had absolutely no feeling in or control of my right leg and minimal in my left.  I’m in this position for about 20 minutes.  I puke.  (I was very concerned about this only because I had snuck a granola bar earlier in the day after I was told I couldn’t eat any more.)  Finally, I get back on my side and Baby does well through the next few contractions.  The nurse checks me a little after 10:00 and I’m 80% effaced and 4 or 5 cm dilated.  She tells me to call her if I start to feel the urge to push with any of my contractions. 

I start to feel this, which actually felt more like, “Omg Baby’s head is pushing its way out!” through an epidural haze, almost immediately but figure it’s just the power of suggestion.  Robert steps out to go get some food before the concession stand closes.  But, about ten minutes later, I realize I can accurately tell whether or not I’m contracting based just on this sensation, so I give the nurse a call.  She checks me and says, “Wow – you’re ready!  Let’s have a baby!”  Robert walks back into the room when she’s fussing around getting ready for delivery.  I’m kind of in shock and kind of don’t believe what’s going on, since labor had gone so slowly up until this point.

The nurses shift around and I get a new nurse for the pushing part.  Mostly I remember her bustling around with monitors, catheters, and other medical things, and telling me to push through my contractions.  I’m afraid to push too hard when she’s not right there because I’m oddly afraid that my baby will just pop out with no one there to catch it.  I’m also afraid to push too hard because I don’t want to poop or fart in her face.  I figure I can reserve the “all-out effort” pushing and only bust that out if I really need it. 

The pushing starts a little after 11:00, and after pushing through a handful of contractions, apparently the baby is crowning.  Robert gets a glimpse of this and his eyes get huge.  I think it finally hit him right then that there was actually a baby in there.  The nurse calls the on-call OB, and I push another handful of times.  I never wanted to see the actual birth, but I find myself thankful that I can sort of see a reflection of what’s going on in the OB’s glasses (seriously, the OB suited up like I was going to explode all over her – not especially reassuring).  I see the baby’s head crowning and I realize how close we really are.  It may have been more but it felt like only a half-dozen pushes with the OB there before I could see the top half of Baby’s face.  One final extra-long push, and at 11:49 PM, Baby is wrenched from my body.  Once her head was out, her shoulders and the rest of her just slipped out.  She didn’t breathe right away (no one else seemed concerned) and I had a moment of panic.  Then she started to cry.

Lia is placed on my stomach and my world just sort of stops.  People are talking – I’m pretty sure they asked me what her name was – and I just couldn’t care enough to listen to them, much less answer.  I’m just staring at this tiny person.  I pull her up on my chest as much as possible while some other stuff happened in the room.  I’m terrified of hurting her or breaking her so I just kind of watch her.

Robert cut the umbilical cord at some point, and then it’s kind of a blur after that.  The nurses took the baby to the other side of the room to do some stuff to/with her.  Robert went to watch that and I watched him watch them while the OB did some other stuff to me down there (like delivering the placenta and stitching me up (first degree tear – not too shabby!)).  Lia got cleaned up and brought back to me.   I’m crying a bit – overwhelmed and still a little in shock.  The nurse takes some pictures, Robert calls and texts some family, and we hang out a little waiting for the in-laws to get to the hospital and for the epidural to wear off.  It’s all pretty anti-climactic from there.  

Well between Baby and family, that took me all day to write.   I’ve already forgotten a few things about the day so I’m glad to get it down on paper now before it fades even more.  Overall, it went really well.  At the very beginning of my pregnancy I was all about a totally non-medicated, no-intervention birth, which is obviously not what I ended up with, but it was totally fine.  My body did well, I’m healing remarkably well, at least compared to what I thought it was going to be like, and ultimately I don’t regret going down the path that I did.


Saturday, October 30, 2010


Well it's been an eventful... what?  48 hours since we went home from the hospital.  Well, not eventful by normal-people standards, but eventful for us!  I even had a blog post all written out after our first night home but got called away by Lia and literally didn't make it back to the computer to hit "Post" until now, a day later.  It feels a little obsolete now so I'll just sum things up.

First night home was rough.  Robert can't really help much at night since he can't feed Lia, so we decided to have him sleep the night through so he could be more useful during the day.  So the night was up to me.  I think I was exhausted and dehydrated, because it seemed like I just couldn't produce anything for Lia to eat.  She had been a good little eater up until the 10:00 pm feeding, and I just could not get her to settle down afterwards, plus it had been almost ten hours since her last wet or dirty diaper.  She was acting hungry and finally at 12:30, I caved in and gave her some formula.  It's funny, it literally felt like the end of the world at the time.  It feels like there's a sort of cultural undercurrent for moms nowadays, where "good" moms only exclusively breastfeed their babies, and if you don't, it's because you didn't try hard enough or care enough about your child or something.  (Maybe I'm projecting or overreacting - I don't feel that way but I do feel like there's a lot of judgment out there.  Maybe I'm wrong.)  It felt like I was failing as a mother - my very first night at home with my baby - by caving in and giving her formula.

But you know what?  After almost three hours of fussing, she gobbled up a bottle, went right to sleep, slept four hours straight, and pooped and peed before her next feeding.  It was so obviously the right call.  Thankfully, one of the pediatricians I talked to in the hospital said to me, "There are a lot of rules out there and a lot of opinions on feeding, but as long as your baby is getting fed, you're doing the right thing."  I'm so glad someone said that to me and I'm so glad I'm starting to learn that lesson sooner rather than later in this process.

Since then, things have been going swimmingly, actually.  My milk is in, and Lia is clearly getting what she needs from me now.  She still has nights and days mixed up - she's an angel in the morning, sleeping right through until the afternoon, then fusses in the evening and most of the night.  But we're managing.  The nights are just long.  We saw the pediatrician this morning for a weight check, and she's down an ounce from her discharge weight but no one is worried.  My mom and dad also got in town today.  My dad is just in for the weekend, but my mom is staying for two weeks to give me a chance to get some sleep during the day.  It's tough for me to sleep unless I know someone else is actively watching Lia, so having another set of hands and eyes watching her should give me some peace of mind.
On the way to the doctor's this morning!

Where am I again?

I'm trying to catch up on life online but I'll probably be really sporadic for awhile.  And, it's pretty clear that this blog is going to turn into a "Newborn Parenting" stream of consciousness blog, so my apologies for those who just don't care about this sort of thing.  (I don't blame you - I didn't until a week ago!)

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Julia Maslen

Thank you so much for all the well-wishes, especially from Sara and everyone else who headed over here from her blog!  We didn't have internet in the hospital so this is my first chance to post anything.

One day old

1.5 days old - the eyes are finally open!

Holy cow have you ever seen a cuter baby?

Finally going home!

My induction appointment was at 1:00 AM Tuesday.  She was finally born at 11:49 PM on Tuesday.  I really want to write and post a timeline/birth story, and I will give all ya'll the gory details then.  But we both came out of it just fine (I've been surprised at how well I'm holding up - I think I took too much stock in everyone's birth horror stories!) - although I'm definitely running on fumes at the moment - and now we're all trying to get adjusted to life as a family of 4 (yes I count the dog). 

We both just liked the name Julia, and Maslen is an old French name that means "little Thomas," which is my dad's name.  He's been a phenomenal father to three daughters and I really wanted my child to honor him and carry on his name.  We've been calling her Lia throughout the pregnancy but we're not sure whether Julia or Lia will stick.  Either way.  She's the most beautiful baby ever born and we can't stop looking at her.  :)

Will post more when I get back on my feet a little. 

Monday, October 25, 2010

The calm (?) before the storm

It's twenty after eleven, and I'm taking a few minutes in the middle of our crazy night to be quiet and type a bit.  Right now, the plan is to call L&D at midnight, make sure they still have room for me, and go in for a 1:00 am appointment (it just seems wrong to call anything at 1:00 am an "appointment") to get the induction started.  I have no idea what they'll do once I get there, which is a little unnerving.  But, truth be told, kind of far down on my radar screen right now of things that unnerve me.

First of all - I'm going to push a what out of my whaaaaa?!  I've successfully avoided thinking about this part of baby-makin' up for the past nine months but it's kind of staring me in the face right now.  Wtf.  Who designed this process, exactly?  Not pleased, but maybe I can avoid thinking about this a little longer - what's another few hours after nine months of denial?

Second - I'm going to be a mother?!  We were at the mall tonight and R and I both picked up birthday cards for our daughter.  My dad wrote me a card when I was in the hospital and it was so sweet and neat to have that growing up that we're both going to do the same thing for Nuggette.  I pretty much started bawling the moment I walked in to Hallmark.  This is hitting me all sorts of weird ways but none of them are how I anticipated.  I'm in total denial, I love her, I'm not so sure - I don't know her, I'm terrified, I'm excited, I'm totally confused, and I don't know what to think.  I'm going to shelve all this if I can until I can actually look at her little face in the hopes that things will make more sense then.

Third - I hope things go okay.  I hope she's healthy (we opted for the minimal amount of prenatal screening because we knew we wouldn't do anything differently if she weren't "healthy" - now I kind of regret that because it'd be nice to be prepared if something's abnormal).  I hope Nuggette and I get through the process okay.  I hope R still likes me at the end of it all, after watching me pretty much lose all my dignity in the birthing process.  I hope R is okay throughout this; I can't imagine being on his side of the fence and having -let's face it - such a passive role in such a monumental family moment.  I hope the dog is okay being alone for two days.  I hope the glider still comes in on Wednesday and R is able to pick it up before we get home.  I hope I packed the right clothing for all of us.  I hope other people like the name.  I hope I still like her name.  I hope I'm not forgetting anything....  Since I've pushed Points First and Second out of my brain, it's pretty much filled up with this.

It's time to head off to dry my hair (of course I want to blow dry my hair for a 1:00 am appointment at L&D duh), pack and clean a little more, and fret a lot more.  Will update when there's something worth updating about.  :)  Wish us luck!

Update:  Just talked to L&D - we're a go!  (Ahhh!)

4 am musings

I guess my body's getting ready for all the future nighttime feedings, because I've gone from a "hit the pillow at 11 and out like a rock til the alarm goes off" person to a serial nighttime napper. 

After talking to Robert and my sister (an ob/gyn nurse practitioner) yesterday, it became pretty clear that inducing is the right choice for me right now.  I already regret not being able to experience labor naturally, and I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it'll happen by itself some time today, but if not (and still no signs that it might), I'll be giving L&D a call at midnight tonight and hopefully going in shortly after to begin the process.  Robert pointed out that I'm miserable, and that my dad's schedule necessitates that she get here fairly soon or else he won't get a chance to see her for several more weeks.  My sister essentially said it's ridiculous for me to wait out of some sense of guilt ("You're being very Catholic, Jessica" - lol!) when the baby is past her due date - that she's done and ready and whether she gets here because I go naturally or because I get induced doesn't matter in the least. 

So, today is my last day pregnant (for awhile at least!) and my last chance to get stuff done before she arrives.  I think it's the first time all pregnancy that I've felt sentimental about being pregnant and carrying this child inside of me.  I'm going to miss the combination of the relative freedom and independence I have now and the feeling of having our baby constantly connected to me in the most intimate way possible.  I'm usually pretty bad with change (see: selling car) so I'm not surprised I feel this way, suddenly, just now that it's almost over, but I am surprised at how I'm way more excited about having the baby than I am regretful that it's almost over. 

I'll be running around today getting a few last-minute things done but since we've been anticipating her arrival for awhile now, we're in pretty good shape.  (I even spent several hours cleaning the basement yesterday (wtf?), which I'm super-proud about because it no longer looks like we belong on Hoarders.)  So, today holds just a few errands, maybe a mani/pedi, some final housecleaning, and some quality time with the dog and hubby.  I'm kind of excited.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

3:00 am musings...

It's 3:00 am Sunday morning.  I'm awake because I had to get up to pee for the umpteenth time and couldn't get back to sleep.  Like pretty much all of the last several days, I thought I'd be in labor by now.  Last night I pulled out not all, but a lot, of the stops - eggplant, a small glass of red wine, exercise, and it's stormy which my parents swear brings on babies because of the drop in pressure.  She was SO active last night - moving around like crazy and kicking off a few contractions in the process - that I thought for sure she'd pop that water and we could pack up and head to the hospital.  But, obviously, nothing.  I did dream about her.  True to my life experiences thus far, I dreamt I had her, promptly put her in her crib where she stayed for the duration of my dream, and went out to a bar in Florida with Robert.  Then I dreamt I slept on my stomach and my body started to go back to normal, which was awesome.

I guess I'm having trouble wrapping my mind around the fact that giving birth means I'm going to have a baby.  It's not just a means to the end of me getting my body back and beginning the slow process of feeling comfortable in my skin again.  Part of me is beating myself up for being so selfish about this whole giving-birth thing (really - who wants to give birth because they're excited to have a bigass glass of wine?!), then the other part of me realizes I can't fathom what it means to have a baby because I've just never experienced it before.  I chide Robert for thinking this way - I'm convinced he hasn't fully wrapped his mind around this concept either - but I know I'm the same way deep down.  Maybe this is just a really clever tumor and not a little live person.  That actually makes more sense to my gut right now.

And then I think about it a bit and run into a billion questions along the lines of - "How on earth am I going to take care of her?" and "You mean I'm going to be responsible for this creature for the rest of my life?"  I have carried her for nine months and I still don't see "mom" as part of my identity at all.  I'm definitely not one of those people who always wanted children and always pictured themselves as mothers.  If it were entirely up to me, I probably wouldn't be pregnant right now.  Not to say this wasn't a joint decision, but it was pretty practical on my end ("Robert wants kids for sure, now's a relatively good time, career-wise, for me to do this, and we're not getting any younger...") and definitely not motivated by some visceral maternal drive.  I know I'm certainly not the first person to feel this way and have a baby, and I do believe what everyone tells me - that things are different once the baby actually gets here.  But I'm apprehensive, to say the least.

And then there are the induction fears: I'm slowly but surely wrapping my mind around the distinct possibility that I won't have gone in to labor by Tuesday morning so I need to make a final decision on this induction.  (My mind is doing a lot of wrapping lately.)
  • Cons: (1) Induced labors tend to be longer, more painful, and more likely to end up requiring further medical interventions.  (2) I'll probably end up with an epidural either way, but if I get induced I'm pretty much guaranteeing one.  (3) I'd also sort of like to experience labor starting on its own.  I'm curious about how it will feel, what will happen, and what my body will do.  (4) I keep reading that first-time babies are, on average, born eight days past their due date.  I've had such a textbook pregnancy so far that I'm wondering if I should just stick it out a few more days and give her a chance to finish cooking on her own, if that's the more normal, natural way to go.  (5) Every day she's in there is a day she gets more mature and more able to handle the bumps of life outside. (6) And, isn't it selfish of me to evict her just because I want to?  Is that any way to kick off our mother-daughter relationship?
  • Pros: (1) I'm in physical pain.  My pelvis is killing me, and it's getting significantly worse each day.  I have trouble rolling over in bed, going from sitting to standing and back again, walking, getting in and out of a car, using stairs, and anything else that requires movement.  (2) I'm also mentally desperate for this pregnancy to be over.  I've stuck it out a solid 40 weeks plus, given my baby the best growing environment I was able to provide, and I'm practically climbing out of my skin at this point.  Gaining all this weight and watching helplessly as my body went through these radical changes in the past nine ten months has been incredibly hard on me mentally (not to mention doing without my go-to mental/emotional crutches - a glass of wine at the end of the day) and it feels like each day now I'm closer than I thought possible to snapping.  (Not sure what "snapping" entails though - probably just having a crying fit and buying a family pack of delectably-frosted cupcakes.)  (Mmmmm that last part might have to happen anyways...)  I felt really reassured yesterday when I called the hospital to get instructions for the induction.  At the least, I'll be on my way to having a baby by Tuesday - whew.  (3) My doctor is fine with the induction - she was the one who suggested it, and she suggested scheduling it for two days earlier than I actually scheduled it.  (4) I'll be one day shy of 41 weeks, which isn't exactly like I'm scheduling it early for convenience, and I'm positive my due date is accurate.  (5) My mother had to be induced with me because her water broke and she didn't start contracting - what's the point of waiting for my water to break if I'm going to follow in her footsteps and get induced anyways?  (6) My parents are making airplane reservations to come up next weekend to visit their first granddaughter and it would suck royally for her to not be here then.
End result?  I'm still not sure.  I still can't get over the fact that essentially all the reasons I want to induce are selfish, and there are some compelling points on the Cons list.  Anyone can do anything for a few more days.  It's not like I won't eventually have this baby, one way or another.  I need to talk this one out with Robert some more I guess.  Or maybe go back to bed and sleep on it some more.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

No, no baby. Part 16.

No.  No baby yet.  Nothing. 

That's all.

Wearing my crankypants

No, the reason I didn't post yesterday was not because I was busy having a baby.  I'm only three days late now but I'm so cranky and angry about it that I'm not sure how much longer I can go.  I've had pelvic joint pain through about the last half of the pregnancy, but these last few days it seems to be getting exponentially worse.  It feels like someone hit me in the crotch with a baseball bat, and nothing seems to be helping - rest makes it hurt more in the short-term, activity makes it hurt more in the long-term.  My head is getting stuffy too.  I'm not sure whether it's allergies or I'm getting sick, but the net result is that I'm just a worthless, crabby lump.  I know I'm only three days late and people go much later, and I feel like I should be handling this with grace and be thankful that my baby is still contentedly cooking and healthy inside me, but mostly I can't help but be irrationally angry - at me, at R, at my baby, and at everyone who has ever had a baby early or exactly on time.  I still don't like the idea of getting induced but now I'm so thankful I have that appointment on Tuesday.

Robert, on the other hand, has been a rock star dealing with me, and I'm so lucky to have him listening patiently to me, singing our "Get out Baby" song to my belly, and picking up the slack around the house.

And, because this makes my heart happy, here's some pics of R and Scrappy playing in the backyard yesterday:

Running around
Scratch the tummy break
"Oh but I'm tired now!"
"Yes scratch my tum some more!"
"I'm intrigued."
"But I'd rather just lay here with it."

Aww isn't my little family cute?!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

No baby yet.

No baby yet.  No real contractions (although this might be good since I think I might go crazy if they were to start up only to stop again), no nothing.  Scrappy and I had a lovely walk this morning and then I pretty much vegged out for the rest of the day.  We've had the most gorgeous weather here these past few weeks, and it's really nice to live so close to a park with so many trails.  I'm glad I can take advantage of it, although the hills are rough.  I cannot WAIT to go walking/running/hiking again and feel normal while doing it.  This pregnancy has been an uphill battle - despite remaining fairly active, I just feel more and more out of shape every day.  Working out is supposed to get easier, not harder, the more you do it!  I wish I had taken some pictures of the walk this morning.  I'm planning to take the dog to the park again tomorrow morning so I'll bring my camera next time.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Due Date

So today is my due date.  I wasn't actually expecting to have her today, so I'm not really disappointed, mentally.  Physically is another story - I feel like I've hit a wall.  She's big, she's active, and I am heavy, huge, and awkward.  I won't bitch because I know everyone feels like this at this point, but I am just done.

Anyways, here is the new study/guest room.  This used to be my study, but once I was done with law school, I really didn't need a whole room for my computer and stuff.

Before.  I wish I had some photos of the study with all the furniture in it but I didn't have that much foresight.  Instead I have photos of an empty room with a bajillion different paint colors on the walls.  I must have bought a dozen different tester pints before I finally settled on the paint colors.  So frustrating but worth it because I'm really happy with the way it turned out.

I'm not a huge fan of daybeds but it was really a good solution for us.  There's a pop-up trundle underneath, and I got nice mattresses and mattress pads, so hopefully visitors will be comfortable.  We just didn't have room for anything more.  The closet is to the right (I'm a big fan of the curtains-for-closet-doors-thing).  The lamp is very college dorm room, but at this point we're reluctant to spend any more money on things that aren't necessities.  Someday I'd like to put a spine-style bookshelf back there, with a brushed nickel arc lamp to shed light over the bed.  I'm also in love with the blinds.  We never had anything in here, and I went ahead and ordered custom wooden blinds for the window.  I'm SO happy I did.  I'm going to put the same thing in our bedroom once our bank account recovers.

I bought these paintings from a street painter in Florence, when I spent a summer in Siena.  In my junior year of college.  And I just now got them framed.  It felt really good to put them up on the wall.  I love the paintings themselves, I just didn't have anywhere to put them until now.  I think "frame Italy paintings" has been on my to-do list for the past eight years.  That's got to be a record.

My "study" corner.  Mostly full of electronics.

Same thing, I just really like the overhead fan/light so I wanted to include a pic of that too.
Overall, I'm happy with the way it turned out.  I wish I had more storage space, because a lot of stuff that used to be in this room is now living in the basement, but I've got the essentials and I think our guests will still have plenty of room.

And now it's time for me to head to bed and pray my water breaks in the middle of the night!