Sunday, February 12, 2017

The things we forget

Inspired by Sheila's latest post:

Cat is SUCH a smiley, happy baby. But that doesn't mean the first few months weren't HARD. So I thought I'd document a little bit in bullet point form.

- She was MUCH more alert than Tad (probably because of being born at 39 weeks versus 37), which was great for feeding and weight gain but not great when she decided to be awake for sometimes up to 2 hours in the middle of the night. Seriously, big baby eyes staring at everything gets less cute somewhere between 2 and 4 a.m. I watched a lot of late-night Netflix to cope.

- For the first month (until we put her on Zantac) she would gag and wail almost every feeding.

- She has a weak suck (she's getting her tongue and lip ties fixed on Tuesday!) and for a few weeks (5? 6? I already don't remember) I would have to get up and go to the recliner every time she woke up hungry in the night, which was rough even when she went to sleep again immediately.

- If she got overtired I would have to bounce her on the yoga ball. Nothing else worked. (This still sometimes happens, but not 2-3 times a day.)

- She went through an AWFUL colicky phase from maybe 4-8 weeks. And she'd start the nightly wailing right after Tad went to bed, so we'd end up only getting maybe 6 hours of broken sleep before he'd wake up again. Those were LONG days and many nights I sat bouncing and bouncing a wailing baby while repeating over and over that fussiness peaks from 6-8 weeks.

- She used to hate her car seat and wail the entire time anytime we drove anywhere, which made the long days even longer since it was too cold (and I was too weak, for a long time) to go anywhere on foot and Tad got incredibly bored being cooped up.

I post all this not to complain but so that if we ever have another baby I can remind myself that it does get better, that Cat was not *always* a smiley cheerful baby.

For that matter, in a few weeks or months I might want to remind myself that we've survived Cat's going through cranky phases before. I certainly hope that her current easygoing disposition is a sign of her true personality emerging and not just a fluke, but that remains to be seen!

In the meantime, I will enjoy the cute smiley moments

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Seven Quick Takes: Mom of two edition

1.

The butterfly is shrinking steadily
Cat is three months old now. She smiles ALL THE TIME, laughs often, and rolls from belly to back occasionally. At her 3-month appointment the pediatrician commented on how cheerful she is and also what excellent head/trunk control she has--apparently it's so good that it prompted him to ask whether she was sitting up yet. (She's definitely not.)

At her appointment she weighed 12 lbs 3 oz and was 24 inches long, which puts her 5 oz heavier and half an inch longer than Tad was at the same age. It's particularly impressive since she was 8 oz lighter and an inch shorter at birth. (Tad basically didn't grow the first month of his life. He really hit his stride around 5-6 months so I expect pretty soon she'll cross back to the other side of his growth curve.)

2.
Double nap trap
For the first few months, Tad didn't take much notice of Cat. If she was in his way, he'd push her aside much as he might push aside a book I was reading or laundry I was folding. Basically he seemed to think she was a sort of doll to which I was strangely devoted.

In the last few weeks it seems to have clicked for him that she's people, though. He tries to rescue her from naps and from her car seat (telling me "Hold da beebee!" sternly) and when she's in his way he tries to convince me to put her down in a safe place before he reclaims his rightful spot on my lap. A little while ago he told her, "You wan get down, beebee," gently set her on the floor, patted her on the head, and commanded her to "Be carepul!" before leaving her to her own devices so he could cuddle me.

(Whenever he says "Be carepul!" or "I sorry!" apropos of nothing immediately obvious I always jump to attention, like, "Are you thinking of doing something you need to be sorry for?")

3.
Out of batteries
The weirdest thing about Cat: Sometimes, when she has a dry diaper and a full belly and is in a generally good mood, I will set her down for a minute to pull Tad off the top of the fridge or whatever and when I come back she has FALLEN ASLEEP.

I always look at her like, "Are you malfunctioning? Do we need to change your batteries or something?"

It's nice, though, because Tad is still a sleepless wonder and basically GO GO GOES about 14 hours a day. I'm exhausted enough without the baby engaging in similar antics.

4. 

Truth
When he's not sleeping (WHICH IS OFTEN) Tad's new thing is pulling up my shirt and kneading or pinching my belly. Just because it's kind of doughy doesn't mean you're supposed to knead it, kiddo.

The other day I got so annoyed by it that I snapped at him to do LITERALLY ANYTHING except touch me. He promptly wandered off...and got some sharp scissors off the top of the fridge.

He is something else.

5. 

Multitasking
He does have his cute moments, though. For example, whenever there's a prospect of anything particularly exciting happening*, he delightedly announces, "Hey Ferb! I know what gon do day!" ("Hey, Ferb! I know what we're going to do today!"--one of the catchphrases from Phineas and Ferb, which is still by far his favorite show.)

*Fortunately he has not yet built any roller coasters or traveled to Mars or the like. (That I know of.) Phineas-and-Ferb-worthy activities apparently include standing on the kitchen counter to rearrange all the mugs in the cabinet and going for a walk with me and his baby sister.

6. 

Mine's the blue one
At the advice of his occupational therapist, I've been trying to get in the habit of doing some seated work with Tad on a regular basis. (This is supposed to give him an opportunity to practice things like eye contact, joint attention, and following directions.) Yesterday we started off building a puzzle. Then when I gave him a big bead and a shoelace and then demonstrated threading the bead on the lace, he copied me! And then I drew a circle on a piece of paper and he copied that too! So I am riding a high right now.

I also kind of want to start this now so get a little clarity about the preschool question. With his delays I can't really stick with my plan to just let him frolic around aimlessly until he's mandatory kindergarten age (in 2019) but the idea of shipping him off to 5-days-a-week public preschool doesn't appeal either. If I can manage a bit of homeschooling, then we solve both those problems!

7.

Cheeky
I thought I had a seventh take, but apparently not. Here's a baby in a hairbow instead.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Immediate book meme

Meme created by the Darwins, with additions by Simcha Fisher

What book are you reading now?

Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey. We actually have some money now thanks to a timely change in circumstances (I am being vague here because a certain person to whom I am married likes to keep his internet presence...absent) and Scott thinks Dave Ramsey is hilarious so I periodically refresh myself on his ideas as a way to rope my darling spouse into budgeting.

(We took Financial Peace University last year and since then have had running jokes along the lines of, "But if you took that and put it in a mutual fund...")

What book did you just finish?

Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke. This was recommended to us by Tad and Cat's godmother. (They've got the same one because we're lazy.) READ THIS NOW so we can weep together over the fact that there is no sequel.

What book do you plan to read next?

Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge. Melanie keeps mentioning others of her books on Facebook so I want to revisit Cruel Beauty and then read the rest.

This assumes I can make it to the library before my reserve gets sent back, which is by no means guaranteed.

What book do you keep meaning to finish?

Oh goodness, I don't know. Given the new baby, any book I started more than a few days ago will have been forgotten completely. My memory is terrible these days.

What book do you keep meaning to start?

Any kind of book. I miss the days when I considered myself a reader. Now I am lucky to finish a book or two per month. I would make some kind of resolution to read more but again, new baby, plus a three-year-old who likes to snatch books out of my hands and throw them just out of reach so that I have to disturb the nursing/sleeping baby in order to get them back.

What is your current reading trend?

Those click-bait articles on Facebook. You know, 21 Signs That Your Minor Ailment Is Actually Cancer and the like. It's terrible, but I do spend an awful lot of time scrolling aimlessly on my phone while the baby nurses/sleeps.

What are you reading out loud?

We're usually alternating between The Mitten by Jan Brett and But No Elephants by Jerry Smath. If Tad is particularly fussy at bedtime I will whip through some Sandra Boynton instead.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Mattering

In therapy lately one of the topics that keeps coming up is that I'm trying to learn how to treat myself as somebody who deserves to take up space (and not in the physical sense--though I could certainly write a blog post about being an obese woman who isn't on a diet. I'm not going to, but I could.)

I've figured out, over the years, that it doesn't work to shrink myself down to an automaton who gets things done efficiently and perfectly and who only ever asks for help in the form of delegation--to act like I don't need a teammate to help me brainstorm solutions, and I definitely don't need a friend or a lover looking out for my vague and squishy feelings.

Because of course I do. I need space for thoughts and feelings and imperfections and all the messy spilling-over bits that make me human.

It's not really a resolution  (New Year's or otherwise) because right now there's too much else going on to say that I'm going to exercise daily or get weekly alone time or whatever.

But it is possible to acknowledge, in big and small ways, that I matter. To throw a wrench in the machine that only runs if I never stop running it. To remember that being depressed and worn out and all that is a negative and not a necessity.

Today's small acknowledgement: Publishing a blog post that seems terribly rough drafty and imprecise. :p

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Metablogging

Jamie of Light and Momentary posted the other day about blogging like it's 2005.

I didn't blog at all in 2005 but back when this blog first started (in 2007) I certainly blogged a lot more than I do now. It was horrifyingly stupid drivel for the most part, but what does one expect of 18-year-olds?

Anyway, I would like to get back in the habit of posting more than once a month, even if it's just the horrifyingly stupid drivel of a 27-year-old. :p Plus I feel mom guilt that Cat hasn't had nearly as many obsessive documentary posts as her older brother. (She rolled over for the first time last week, little prodigy.)

So here we go.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Three


Tad turned 3 last month. Since I have a newborn, he got a boxed cake mix with tub frosting and some figurines stuck on top. (Though the figurines were $$$. Thanks, Disney.)

He was napping when I made the cake and we showed it to him first thing when he woke up. I wish I had videotaped the rapturous look that crossed his face when he saw it. I wish I could be sure of remembering it forever. Because it is so very rare, even three years in, for me to feel like I'm getting this right. I'm probably not, on the whole, but at least I get that one moment when I guessed exactly the kind of cake he wanted.


I feel like I should write more here; something sentimental and motherly. I'm not very good with the motherly sentiment, though, as evidenced by the fact that I have been procrastinating on this post for three weeks. He's my impossible baby; he's my fixed point in time, and I love him fiercely but not in a way that makes for touching blog posts.

How about this, though. A while back I was listening to this song in the car and suddenly heard it as a mom of a severely speech delayed child. (And cried, of course, because as I mentioned above I just had a baby.)


He needs me even when he doesn't have the words.

And maybe I need him in the same way.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Cat's birth story part 3: In which I think "almost dying" might not actually be a dramatization

Obligatory birth story disclaimer: Blood, gore, and way too many run-on sentences. Squeamish grammarians enter with caution.

In part 2, the baby was born in a very timely manner--about 40 minutes after we arrived at the hospital and less than 10 minutes after my doctor arrived to catch.

This is where my memories get even more fragmentary than they are re: the rest of labor/delivery but hey, I get to write this the way I remember it and I don't have to care if maybe there's a doctor's note somewhere that has better details, right?

Anyway, we now had the job of delivering the placenta and I started feeling more contractions much sooner this time around; possibly because of the whole thing where I was having Pitocin pumped into my veins much sooner than last time around.

I had the same crushing back pain as during labor, strong enough that I made the same loud moaning sound. And Dr. B informed me that a large clot had come out before the placenta.

"Do not talk to me about clots," I replied crossly. I was very impatient for everybody's least favorite stage of labor to be over.

At this crucial juncture, Scott's dad called to see if we'd called my mom yet to come and take care of Tad. He was very surprised when Scott informed him that his new granddaughter had already arrived.

(Notes for next time: 1) Tell Scott's dad to TEXT if he has something non-life-threatening to talk about. 2) Just go ahead and call my mom as soon as labor starts. I planned to have Scott call her once I got admitted lest labor turn out to be a false alarm, but then things happened so fast we clean forgot. In hindsight we could have called her and said, "Hey, make sure your bag is packed and start driving if you don't hear back from us in an hour or so.")

While Scott was talking to his dad, I pushed out another large clot and finally the placenta. I made sure to tell them I was planning to keep it so they could store and label it properly.

And then Dr. B started pressing down on my uterus to make sure it was firming up properly. And every time he did it was crushingly painful and I would moan some more. Also, every time he did that there was a big gush of blood.

After a couple rounds of this I asked "Seriously, are there any meds I can have for this?" and Dr. B said "Yes" tersely and ordered such-and-such amount of morphine plus a second round of Pitocin. (I always start worrying when Dr. B gets terse because normally he is SUPER chatty, as you might have noticed from my various anecdotes.)

Morphine doesn't do shit, just so y'all know. Though it did kind of help psychologically just to know that nobody wanted me to be in pain.

(Thing I have since learned: Apparently for a lot of people morphine is one of those drugs that doesn't actually relieve pain so much as it makes you kind of loopy so you don't care. Which might help explain the patchy memory thing.)

I was still holding the baby and kind of nursing her off and on. (Every time I moaned she would unlatch and cry, so we made quite the pair.) And I honestly don't remember much else except lots of uterus-mashing and gushes of blood until finally things slowed down. Dr. B stepped out for a while and I thought he had left kind of abruptly but then he came back, checked things over again, congratulated me, and said he'd be by on rounds later that day. Then he left for good.

One of the nurses started a bag of IV fluids that she said was the second one I'd had, plus the fluids accompanying the original dose of Pitocin. (I guess you can give that in a bag of fluids or by itself?) The fact that I don't remember the intermediate bag of fluids suggests that I might have been more out of it than I thought, but maybe I was just distracted. Nurse K of the relentless encouragement was the second nurse in the room and she kept periodically pressing on my uterus and then apologizing when I'd moan over it. (It still REALLY HURT.) I reassured her that I understood she was just doing her job but I was going to have to make noises about it anyway. At one point she got a little concerned about how much I was still bleeding and asked the other nurse if Dr. B was still in the hospital but he wasn't. As I recall they just kept an eye on things after that but it's possible they called in a resident and I just don't remember.

At some point Scott did call my mom to tell her the baby had arrived and she should come down and stay with Tad. I think that was about 12:30. That made me remember about Teresa's birthday so I asked Nurse K when the baby had been born. She said she thought 11:17 but neither Scott nor I thought that sounded right so she looked it up and it was actually 11:27. So about 3 hours after my water broke and just in time for Teresa to have a birthday buddy. :)

Around 1:30 Nurse K suggested that we should weigh the baby and so forth. So we did and she was only 7 lbs 8 ounces, which shocked me. I mean, Cat certainly seemed smaller than Tad but I figured my impressions of baby size were going to be a little off after 3 years.

Then the baby got handed off to Scott and Nurse K suggested that she could help me use a bedpan to make sure I was peeing and everything before we went to the postpartum floor. I tried to argue that I could totally walk to the bathroom but then sitting up made me feel so dizzy that I went with her plan. By the time I was done using the bedpan I had very nearly blacked out and had to lie back in bed with a cool cloth on my forehead, so Nurse K was definitely in the right there.

We stayed in L&D for a little while after that. I had a cup of ice chips that I'd gotten at one point during labor and we had apple juice boxes that I'd packed in case my blood sugar got low. (I don't think they even had time to test my blood sugar, labor went so quick.) While I was lying very still and cuddling the baby, Scott spoon-fed me ice chips and helped me drink out of juice boxes. It was quite sweet of him.

Eventually we did go down to the postpartum unit, though. Nurse K didn't think I could safely sit up long enough even for a wheelchair ride, so we ended up just wheeling me and the baby down in our bed (accompanied by my IV pole for the bag of fluids), and then carefully transferring us to the bed in my postpartum room.

Nurse K did a report to the postpartum nurse, and that was when I learned that I had lost 800 mL of blood, that I had gotten 3 doses of Pitocin, and that my blood pressure had at one point dropped to 90/50. I got the expected admonishments from the postpartum nurse to behave myself and not start hemorrhaging again or pass out or anything (and also to not under any circumstances try to get out of bed without buzzing for help first) and I promised to obey them.

There's a lot more I could write here (spoiler: did not do so great at behaving myself medically), but I think the "birth" part of the story is over so I'll wrap up and dump the rest in an optional epilogue. How about a baby picture to finish us off properly?

Probably cute enough to be worth it.