Archive | June, 2013

The First Week at Home: A Realistic Assessment.

“Remember when we met? You didn’t want kids. Ever.”

“I do remember that. Yep.”

“But then things changed, I guess.”

“Well, you had Jack. So technically, I didn’t have to have any kids. Never planned to.”

“So what changed?”

“I liked the freedom of walking away if I needed to. Kids complicate that.”

“Ouch.”

“Well, when I realized I didn’t need that freedom anymore, things changed.”

****

Things are going okay over here. I had two big, overwhelming fears when it came to a new baby: a labor/delivery like I had my first time (which didn’t happen, mercifully! HOORAY.), and breastfeeding. Breastfeeding was obviously something I mostly internalized, because when I mention to people now how horrible the experience was with Tony, they seem surprised. People like, you know, my husband. Who was there. But it was AWFUL. The screaming, the pain, the infected ducts, the fevers.. Jesus. In fact, I think that started the spiral down PPD lane. It was THAT bad. Horriblè bad. (French awful.)

But this time has gone MUCHO better. (Spanish good.) It’s still not easy – yet – but man. Night and day from last time. I learned that a large stumbling block was my own … biological.. makeup? (I have a flat nipple. You’re welcome. THIRTY TWO YEARS and not one complaint about them.) And I found a lactation boutique here in town that was a godsend. (I know. I laughed at the description too. But MERCY LAWD if they weren’t super helpful.)

I finally today (a week after we were discharged) read The New Mom’s Handbook they gave us at the hospital. I have to be clear here: there’s a lot of good information in that book. But nothing – AND I MEAN NOTHING – sets my hair on fire more than breastfeeding literature that says you should feel NO pain during breastfeeding. ESPECIALLY targeting new/early moms. NO pain? REALLY? Something is suckling at a tender part of your body every two hours twenty four hours a day and you don’t think there should be a little pain? Can we just not be realistic about this? And some women – myself included, oh merciful heavens – have let-down and latch-on pain. Which means that, even during a good feed, the first minute or so is horrendously painful. It disappears, but man. Let’s call a spade a spade here.

****

I am having trouble adjusting to not being available to anyone else’s beck and call. Being the primary food giver means that my day circles around Sir Vinnie’s schedule, and that means I’ve spent several of Tony’s bedtimes tucked away in a nursery, sobbing hysterically that I’m an unfit mother. (I wish that were an exaggeration and can we talk about the baby blues?) Tony was having a meltdown the other night at bedtime and that’s usually when I step in and I heard him calling for me through the wall and MY GOODNESS IF YOU THINK I’M NOT CRYING EVEN NOW YOU THINK TOO HIGHLY OF ME. It’s just hard. Adjusting is hard. It’s even harder when you’re a good part OCD and your day is built by routine and now there is none. Am I talking about Tony here or myself? YES is the answer.

But again, I think I’m internalizing most of this, which brings me back to the baby blues. I’m doing okay – better than last time, no question – so when people ask something of me, I’m kind of surprised. Um, I had a baby a week ago. Don’t I get a pass? For, like, two weeks maybe? And they look at me and say things like, “But you’re doing so well!” and “Look at how well you’re recovering!” and I have to point out that I am on the brink every single day. I struggle for any successes on a daily basis. I don’t think I can handle more than my current juggling load.

I’ve been toiling to remember how I realized last time that I needed professional help. I wrote about it, but I’m trying to remember – specifically – what that darkness felt like so I can see it in front of me and get help before I fall down the hole. (If such a thing is even preventable.) I can’t remember, and that scares me. I’m scared I’ll just wake up one day and look around and think, Well, shit. I’m here. Again.

That very well may happen. I guess we’ll take it day-by-day.

****

I terrified many of you on the internet (and now MORE OF YOU MWUAHAHAHA) with this picture last week.

(Best described as Wall-E People Feet.)

And I’m happy to report that the lovely internet people, once done vomiting into the nearest receptacle, answered, “WOMAN, GET YOU SOME COMPRESSION SOCKS!” and you know what? Those suckers worked! I wore them every waking hour for three days in a row and I can now see my ankle bones! I have them! Thank you, internet people.

****

And now, random pictures. Because that’s what you came for anyway.

A leeeeetle unsure of this big brother thing.

BABY FEETS.

Brothers at Nonna’s house.

Clean baby smell is THE BEST.

Tony offered to teach Vinnie how to use this toy.

 

Couch naps are the second best.

****

Okay, ONE LAST THING: I have been breastfeeding for a good week now. WHEN DOES THE BABY WEIGHT JUST SLIDE OFF? You people PROMISED.

Comments { 6 }

The Long Overdue Post on How #FreeVinnie Went

I say “long overdue”, but is it? REALLY? I went back and saw that I wrote this post for Tony within four hours of his being born. That’s .. well, that’s ridiculous, I think.

I gave myself six whole days this time! We’ve come a long way, baby!

The tl;dr version is this: things went fine, we are home now, and man, I forgot how hard this newborn stuff really is. Also: I AM NO LONGER PREGNANT AND NEVER WILL BE AGAIN!

::cue angel chorale::

When we last met our caped crusaders, even the doc was amazed that no baby had materialized yet. Every doctor’s visit was met with disappointment from everyone (and I quote: “I have no idea what’s holding the baby in there at this point” – THE DOCTOR), and I had just begun to accept that I would greet menopause while gestating a twelve year old.

Finally, after another check that brought meh news (it’s hard to complain about a healthy baby, you know?), I grabbed the doc’s hand and said, “No, seriously. Get him out. I’m done.” So even though I swore I would not induce with this pregnancy, we scheduled an induction.

(This is why birth plans are not carved in stone, folks.)

We went to a new hospital for Vinnie, for no reason other than it was closer to our house and .. well, to be perfectly honest, there were way more food places around it. First pregnancy: hospital choice is based on NICU availability and reputation. Second pregnancy: where can I get good hot wings, fast? True story.

We checked in at 6:00 a.m. on Friday morning and got settled in with a pitocin drip. Our nurse was one we’d met during a fruitless visit to L&D earlier, and I was glad it was her. She had a good sense of humor, but was firm about what needed to happen. I need someone to be the boss of me.

Doc came in around 9 a.m. to break my water. And that’s when he exclaimed, “My God, woman .. you have iron clad membranes!” and we suddenly knew our life’s ambition was to make a band with that name. Sunday, Sunday, Sunday – IRON CLAD MEMBRANES rocks the Civic Center! He exclaimed this because he had to break my water TWICE. The first “nick”, as he called it, didn’t do the job. We then realized what exactly had been holding the baby in.

Bryan was hurt that he didn’t get a bracelet, so our nurse humored him.

Epidural went fine, and I’ll spare you those details.

Then our nurse went kind of rogue. “If you’re up to it,” she said, “I like to do this kind of voodoo nursing thing.” Don’t know if you’ve met me, but at this point, I would’ve willingly slaughtered a goat myself in sacrifice to have delivered this baby, so yeah, I was down with voodoo nursing.

“It’s called wedging,” she said. It basically uses gravity and pillows to manipulate the baby downward and “starts the birthday party a little sooner”. Once the epidural took effect, she and another nurse came and rolled me and flipped me until I was – in all honesty – the most comfortable I’d been in probably months. Everything was aligned and supported and I honestly fell asleep.

Around 11:00 a.m., she woke me up and told me that in a minute, she’d check my progress again and then we’d flip to another position to let things progress. I told Bryan that he should probably go get some lunch since we had a step or two more till the big action happened. The nurse agreed and Bryan headed out to eat.

Five minutes later, she checked me and calmly asked where Bryan was eating, how close was he, and could I maybe call him? Because I was having the baby. Like NOW.

Hey, could you maybe get that burger to go? I texted him.

I kept eying the nurse suspiciously. “I am NOT about to have a baby,” I argued.

“Yes, honey, you are. Put your feet in the stirrups.”

“SHUT UP THIS IS NOT HAPPENING. IT’S NOT EVEN NOON.”

“You are having this baby by lunch, honey. Get ready to push. Where is the doctor?”

Thus began a frenzy of activity because Vinnie runs his own schedule. I literally pushed for maybe twenty minutes and then the doc ran in from another room and literally had one glove on Vinnie’s head while they struggled to get his other glove on.

“Okay, okay, stop pushing!” they said.

“I AM NOT PUSHING ANY MORE HE IS JUST READY TO COME OUT,” I responded.

And then he was there. And I kept looking around in shock because I literally had felt NO pain through the entire birth. I felt nothing. I was exhausted, yes, and had pulled every muscle in my body, but pain? Nothing. And there, on my chest, was a lovely baby boy.

He’s much nicer on the outside of me.

His big brothers were very excited to meet him, and the coaching on how to be a good big brother is probably one of my favorite pictures from the whole entire length of Vinnie’s life.

We’re all home now and relearning how to do this baby-at-home stuff. I’m attempting to breastfeed, which did not go well last time, so I’m trying to be patient and relaxed about it this time. We’ll see how that goes. All fingers and toes are accounted for, and he is, by all counts, as laid back and chill as his brothers were.

And that, my friends, is how Vinnie was freed.

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Operation #FreeVinnie

(First of all, mad props to @BindstheTuna for the hashtag. It seriously makes me laugh.)

“Goodnight, Wesley. Sleep well. I’ll most likely kill you in the morning.”

Remember when I said that, oh, about a month ago? YEP. THAT.

Two (useless) trips to L&D, one of them being in the middle of the freaking night, and I’m still at 4 cm dilated. Had a fantastic bladder infection, non-stop contractions, and a baby who is clearly hanging on to all the organs with every bit of infant might he has. He is JUST like his brother.

We’ve had a suitcase packed since May 15th, guys. It sits in our bedroom, mocking us. Mocking ME. Mocking my uterus and my cervix and, to be quite honest, my determination.

I’ve not been a font of patience here as of late. Surprising, I know. But every mirror I pass, I gasp when I glance at myself. I am clearly not sleeping. I am clearly spending a good deal of every day and night in pain. I am clearly not myself. I am scary to behold. AND THAT’S JUST MY HEAD.

There comes a point in pregnancy when people are just downright disappointed to see you or hear from you while the baby is still inside you. They mean well, I know, but they see you and scan to the mass inside your abdomen and they’re like, God, woman, COME ON ALREADY. Which, I KNOW.

As much fun as it is to do the equivalent of a deep abdominal crunch for a full minute every two minutes for WEEKS ON END, I am also ready for this to be over. The headaches from me clenching my jaw are murder. I am to the point now where I’m doubting that there’s even a baby in there. What if it’s just a tumor? What if I’m being punk’d?

Bryan has been a godsend. So has my family. BUT NO ONE CAN MAKE THIS BABY COME OUT.

Today brought the first bit of good news I’ve had in about a month.

The baby is coming No Later Than June 7th. Induction is scheduled. AND I was approved for medical leave until then. (I’ve been burning vacation/sick leave for weeks.) Odd fact: this will put Tony and Vinnie’s birthdays EXACTLY six months apart. To the day.

I really don’t have much else to report. The house is crazy clean, because every morning, Bryan and I get up and clean the house because Today might be the day! and what if someone has to come in to watch the kids/dogs/snake? We make beds, we vacuum, we sweep, we swiffer. Bags are packed, and the nursery is ready. There is nothing else to be done.

I would say Come on, Vinnie! but in reality? Dude, you’re fine. Friday is your day.

(Which is a guarantee of a surprise water breaking scenario sometime before now and then.)

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