Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

9 Weeks

How does a ten pound baby take up an entire double bed?

As I write this, I'm precariously perched on the edge of my bed, while my precious little baby (only 22 inches long!) lays sideways in the middle of the bed... napping. And there's no good way to move her. Every scenario I can think of (transferring her gently, moving her with a blanket underneath, etc.) always ends up in a disastrous hour long burst of crying and snotty noses and tears and wailing and kicking and...

Well, it's just not worth it, my friends. So the Tater Tot is completely zonked out - sleeping on MY good pillow! - unmovable, un-TOUCHable, and frankly I resent her laziness. It's five o'clock, for Pete's sake! It's time for Mama Spud to be making dinner (or, at least, be watching Spudly make dinner...) and I have things to do! But no, my little Tot, I have to watch you while you're sleeping in my dangerous double bed of death, because every good book says not to let you sleep around all those pillows, blankets, and soft matteresses.

What can I do? Tell her not to fall asleep after an exhausting day of finding her hand and making poopies? Should I try to move her and make the long, bouncy, jarring walk down the hall to her own crib where she's sure to wake up and then be cranky because she's sleepy but doesn't want to sleep??

And, I'm going to break down and admit something that most people are afraid to admit. We're co-sleepers. Yes, I have the potatoes to admit it. We're co-sleepers. The family bed, sleep-sharing, whatever you may call it, when we're tired of going back and forth to her crib at night, we plop her down between us in bed and cling to the edges for dear life all so we can get a solid 5 hours of sleep.

I don't know how she has this control over us. She's not every a foot wide, but somehow I manage to fall off the bed every night and Spud wakes up with a crick in his neck every morning because he's contorted himself into some cheerleader-alphabet postion so he won't roll over her in the night. I may be making more of a deal out of this than it really is (I mean, come on, my shoulder will pop back in place.... eventually) but you may be wondering why we even bother.

"She needs to learn how to stay in her crib at night." "Let her cry for 5 minutes the first night, then ten, and by the end of the week she'll sleep by herself." "She'll own you if you let her sleep with you." I heard it all. And even believed some of it at first. And felt horrible guilt when I started co-sleeping in the hospital and the nurses thought I'd kill her in my sleep. To be honest, you know what you're doing when she's with you. She knows how to cry and move her head and if she DIDN'T, then she'd either have SIDS with you or in her crib, alone, where it could be hours before anyone found her.

We bother to do this, because we love to cuddle with her. She's a tiny little ball of fury, sometimes, but other times she becomes a little lovebug that I just can't let go of. And sometimes she starts off the night in her own crib. Then she comes into ours when she needs fed and we both fall asleep to the light of a Tinkerbell nightlight so aptly placed in our grown-up bedroom. Then, after the second feeding, she may go back to her own crib again until I'm done with my shower. To be more accurate, I'd call us "50% co-sleepers."

What is the fraction for 1/3 of my bed, 50% of the time?

Whatever it is, it's love.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

I'm exhausted. She screamed from 8:45pm to 1:15am last night, except for about a half hour's break in the bathtub. I really think it's colic.... zzzzzz

Unkie Pickers is coming from Ohio for a visit! When I told Mckenna that, she smiled really big and laughed (silently). Yay!!!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

One Year - Hash Brown

The Tater Tot's cousin Hash Brown turned one year old yesterday! I was there for her birth and it's one of the best memories of my life.

I woke up on the morning of the 6th in a bad mood. I hopped in the shower, took the dog out and headed out to work the breakfast/lunch shift at the dining hall for the college Spud worked for. It was cold, miserable, and all I could think about was this student who kept stealing from the dining hall and would give me dirty looks while she did it.

About an hour after I got to work, my phone rang. I couldn't reach for it fast enough but I recognized my mother's ringtone and knew what was going on. My sister (Curly Fry) was having her baby today! I took my phone into the hallway and called my mother (Grammy Spud) back. Curly Fry's water had broken and they were on the way to the hospital! I ran back into the kitchen and exclaimed to my newly appointed bosses, "My sister's water just broke!"

"Well, what are you still doing here?! Go!" I started for the door.

"Wait! Will you be back in time for lunch?"

At the time, we lived in Cleveland and the rest of my family lived near Pittsburgh. It was a two hour plus drive (one-way) and she still had to go through the labor process. I said no, I don't think I'm coming back for lunch, dinner, late dinner, or even for breakfast the next morning!

I hightailed it out of there, ran home, packed a bag of things that didn't even match, and drove home to Pittsburgh. It was the longest two hours of my life. I called everyone I knew. Had updates from my mom about how Curly Fry was doing, prayed, and drove faster. Turns out, I could have taken my time, had a bit to eat, done my hair, and watched a movie!

When I got to the hospital, my mom proclaimed, "She's one and a wiggle!" meaning, just over one centimeter dilated. We'd pause every few minutes and hold her hand while she writhed in pain from the contractions. 'I'm not going to be like that,' I thought. 'She needs to breathe and relax.'

The nurses started her on Pitocin (the evil EVIL drug) and the contractions got worse. At three cm, she begged for an epidural. After 12pm, life got a little better for Curly Fry. She still had heartburn and was starving for something other than ice chips, but at least she was calmer and not in pain. She couldn't move her legs, but she was calmer.

Around 4:30 or 5:00pm, the nurses and doctors kept coming in and checking her a lot. They were worried about Hash Brown's heartrate. They tried inserting an internal monitor into the baby's scalp, putting Mama on oxygen, and turning her on her side to get the baby's heartrate to stablize. It would dip after every contraction - which is normal, but not to such extremes as they were seeing.

Just before 6:00pm, the doctor said, "That's it - we're doing a c-section!" Crying, Curly Fry signed papers, had her epidural amped up so she was numb from the neck down, and was wheeled away to be prepped for an emergency c-section.

Her fiance, Home Fry, changed into his scrubs and everyone in his family hugged and kissed him and wished him luck. They went into the waiting room but I stayed behind until everyone was out of the delivery room. I gave him a big hug and said, "I love you, you know that right? You're my brother in law, no matter what. And you're about to be Hash Brown's daddy. You be good to Curly Fry, ok? I mean it! You talk to her and hold her hand and comfort her. And if you hurt her, I'll hurt you, ok? You got it?" I gave his neck a little squeeze.

"Ow! Ok, I know! Man...!" he said.

"Ok. Now go take care of her!"

At 6:01pm, March 6, 2008 Ava Marie was born weighing 6 pounds, 11 ounces and just 19 inches long. She had black curly hair that was wispy like feathers, but thick and full enough to give her mother heartburn. While Curly Fry was in the recovery room, we watched as she was given her first bath, wrapped in warm blankets, and dressed in a tiny t-shirt and cap. It wasn't until after 8pm that my sister could finally see her baby, but when they wheeled her up to the window, it was such a beautiful sight. Her hand flew to her mouth and she started to cry and I got a great picture of our mother comforting her, while they both looked at the baby.

We stayed at the hospital until 11pm and then Grammy Spud and I went for cheeseburgers because we were starving. The weather was pretty mild and then the next day we went to visit again. As I left to go home to Cleveland, I looked outside and saw giant snowflakes falling faster and faster. Where had this come from?? It took me over four hours to drive home (usually a two hour drive) and by the time I got home, there was nearly a foot on the ground. The next day, the snow was up to my hip, which made travels back and forth to the hospital a little difficult for Home Fry and Grammy Spud.

Mom and baby were released on Sunday and spent the first night at home, just the three of them, as a new family. And now, just one scant year later, Hash Brown is healthy, happy and has three teeth! She walks a few steps and then starts to lunge forward when she gets scared of her own independence. She can say, 'Mommy, Daddy, Baby,' and one time we thought she said 'Button.' She has beautiful brown eyes and a mischevious grin that makes your heart melt. All of her dark curly hair is piled on top of her head, leaving just short, tiny ringlets underneath.

She's my beautiful niece, Tater Tot's cousin, Grammy's first grandchild, number 5 of the great grandchildren on my dad's side, and holds all of our hearts in her tight little fist.

Happy Birthday Ava! We love you!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Six Weeks, continued

Spud has officially cracked.

Last night he giggled like a school girl out of exhaustion. I don't know what he's so exhausted about, I'm the one with the baby all day and night! But it helped to boost my self-confidence about my budding stand-up career (yeah right) because everything I said, he laughed like I've never heard before! At one point, he was trying to suppress his laughter so much that he was shaking, rocking the bed and about to wake up the sleeping Tot.

He rolled off of the bed and lay on the floor, tears in his eyes, shaking with laughter. And I'm not even sure what it was about! But every time he'd think it was under control, he'd start up again!

This went on for about an hour....


6 week checkup

Well, it was disappointing, to say the least.

I made sure to read all the articles about what to expect at your six week post-partum visit. I expected an internal exam and for Dr. Blah Blah to make sure all my organs were back to normal after being shoved out of place for nine months. And I thought he would at least ask me how I was handling being a new mother and if I was experiencing any baby blues (I am, but it's manageable, really). I also thought he would say it was safe to get back to some normal things (exercising, sex, etc.) and let me know how my stitches were healing. I thought he might explain some of the thigns that happened during the birth, like how he forced me to have medical interventions and treated me like a slab of meat on a conveyor belt!


Actually, I'm wrong. I got a lot of explanations about how he pays $60,000-100,000 a year in malpractice insurance so he's wary of people who want to walk the halls during labor because they might want to do drugs during labor. That's another rant about the drug companies later...

But I didn't get a go-ahead from him about anything. I didn't get a reassuring pat on the back as I sat in the exam room and cried about mourning my delivery. He said, "This is going to sound cold, but you have a healthy baby in the end."

He smirked at me too.

That mo-fo smirked at me when I told him I was bottle-feeding. I had just finished crying and telling him how he didn't respect my wishes to do everything natural. And apparently, the fact that I was bottle-feeding and therefore "un-natural" amused him, so he smirked. I lied and made it seem like breast-feeding didn't work out for me and Mckenna, which is true in some sense. I just didn't give it the best try that I could have.

He replied, "See? Where would you be without modern bottles (and formula)? Your baby would starve!" in his country-bumpkin-doctor-twang.

I replied, "Well, no, that's why they had wet-nurses back in the day!" and put my feet in the stirrups.

As I left the office, I made sure there wasn't anything else he needed to tell me (like.. uh... have a nice life??) There wasn't. Just to go to the front desk and get your bill straightened out. So I went to the desk, flopped my chart onto it, and asked for a copy of my records because, "I need to be moving on. Away. From my doctor. Now."

Meanwhile, yes, my baby is healthy. The tot has chubby chipmunk cheeks and is starting to smile when I sing, "Good Mornin'" from Singing in the Rain to her every morning. She doesn't sleep through the night, or anything, but I wouldn't expect her to do that yet. She still needs a lot of food and I'm ok with that.

It's the getting back to sleep part that I'm starting to have troubles with.... More on sleep training later....

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The First 6 Weeks

I've officially cracked.

I started to scoop some peanut butter cookie dough ice cream and thought that it looked like a carton of yellowish-brown baby poop.

I routinely walk into a room and forget why I was going in there. I have to say to myself, "What am I here for? What am I doing? Why am I here?" I *usually* remember.

I threw away a crisp, new $20 bill. I found it. It was in with the junk mail that was in my hand with the bill.

I've forgotten to buy toothpaste at least three times. I go to Wal-Mart with all intentions of buying it and walk out with $30 worth of stuff - except the toothpaste.

The first couple weeks, I would scoop the powdered formula into the container of water to make up a pre-made batch ahead of time and lose count halfway through. It wasn't like I had a lot of scoops to count... just 6. Somewhere around 4 I'd start to forget where I was. Now I make up a larger batch in the morning when I'm well rested (sort of) and I don't have to do it several times a day.

Along the same lines, I have trouble adding. Especially fractions. I've started just estimating about how many ounces she's eaten in a day.

I was standing in the grocery store with a screaming baby, looking at my watch, and desperately trying to remember her last feeding. For the life of me, I could only remember feeding her around 2pm, although it was now going on 9pm. I knew she ate sometime in between there, I just wasn't sure when.

One day after said trip to grocery store, I completely forgot that we went and said, "Hey, we never did go grocery shopping! Why don't we go now?"

I think my baby's breath smells like Cheez-its.

My sentences change in the middle. For example, "Karen is inciting a 'mommy-hub-bub' about starting with Dora the Explorer."

Hopefully, I regain my mind soon... Isn't 6 weeks supposed to be the magical time when the baby starts sleeping through the night and your body goes back the way it was and you can have sex again and feel great???