Monthly Archives: March 2014

Baby Effects

Me to Tom regarding naive hope: That’s a unicorn. Kill that unicorn. It’s not a mockingbird, it’s not a sin to kill it… you don’t believe in that Harry Potter s#^% anyway!

While watching Return of the King last night…
Tom: I wonder what goes on in the Dead City.
Me: I heard it’s kind of a ghost town.
Tom: -__-
(later)
Tom: They’re not a very lively bunch.
Me: Whatever, my joke was better.

Charlotte gets this face like a sleepy little old man when we’re trying to burp her. Tom and I have begun to call her “little Norman” when she makes that face. Get it? Because Norman is an old man’s name? Ok, we’re not that funny.

Last night we got some pretty consistent sleep. Our brains are almost to normal again. We’re finally figuring out how to interpret Charlotte’s cries and how to calm her down. She has a favorite blanket, a favorite pacifier, doesn’t mind dirty diapers, prefers to have a pillow under her head to sleep, and sometimes likes to sleep in our bed next to us first thing in the morning. We’ve got her on a 3-hour feeding schedule. She hates baths and diaper changes. She makes the cutest faces when she’s pooping her diaper.

I spent a few hours writing in her baby book the other day. I spent an hour cleaning out and reorganizing my closet earlier today. We have all this time because we work together as a team. I enjoy the amount of help Tom provides. But he goes back to work next week and I’ll have three whole 12-hour days without any help all in a row. And I’ve agreed to do all the 4am feedings the mornings he has to work. That is a feeding at 4am, 7am, 10am, 1pm, 4pm, and 7pm all by myself. All the diaper changes in between. And trying to calm her down all by myself. I’m particularly talented at calming her down, except when my beloved husband is trying to sleep in at 7am.

Next Monday and Tuesday, for that week and the week after, I go back to work. I have the rest of the week off to take care of the baby while Tom works. We’re looking into daycare centers (found a few affordable ones!) and it breaks my heart to think of someone else taking care of my sweet baby girl. A pain every working mother feels when she leaves her child for someone else to take care of. But my income is higher than the cost of daycare and we need it to pay our bills. I love her so much, it hurts physically to think of someone else cuddling her and calming her down. Thankfully, as Tom reminds me, it’s only two or three days per week and I’ll get to be with her during every lunch when he’s not at work.

I love this little girl so much more than I can explain. And I love Tom just as much. We’re getting a chance to play like we used to before we had to be careful of my tummy. We’re getting time to bond with our little girl and give our own relationship time to adjust to the changes a newborn brings. And while it hasn’t been an entirely smooth road, I’m sitting here listening to him singing to our daughter. He alternates between singing “Sober” by Tool, “Black” by Pearl Jam, “Real World” by Matchbox 20, and various Disney songs. Sigh. He’s ridiculous and I love him. Plus, Charlotte is sleeping in his arms, which is most important for our sanity.


One Week Old

You just don’t know funny until you hear your husband arguing with your newborn about feeding. I’m sitting over here devouring my birth board, minding my own business, and I hear “open your mouth. Damn it, OPEN. YOUR. MOUTH.” I look over and he says “she’s pretending to sleep!” Then he says to her “I’m going to change your diaper JUST TO PISS YOU OFF.” She’s currently wearing a Zelda onesie that I purchased as a nod to my husband’s nerd obsession. She’s just too cute.

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He’s also sitting there scheming with her about movies they’ll watch to piss me off. Like that stupid ninja movie. But these frustrations are easily forgotten.

This morning, Miss Charlotte decided that she needed to eat an hour earlier than normal, and the 60ml that she normally drinks was just not enough. This meant that Tom and I could not sleep because she would fuss every few minutes. This was at about 3am. Then again at 5am. Then at 7am. We managed to get some sleep between 8-9am, which is unheard of for me. (I’m an “up-by-7am” kind of person.) And her fussing turned to tearless crying, which turned to screaming to where her whole little body was bright red. I mean, talk about over-reacting!!! This is one of the downsides of bottle-feeding: it takes time to heat the bottle up. But feeding directly from the breast isn’t really in the cards for us, so we just have to put up with the blood-curdling screams of a week-old infant. I gotta say, it doesn’t hurt my heart as much as it hurts my ears.

But when Charlotte just wants to be held, the second her head is on my chest and my arms are around her, she calms right down. She has a tendency to roll her head around and throw it at things. Like my chest or chin or the couch behind me or back behind her. It’s funny and really cute. She also opens her mouth in an “O” shape and her eyes get really wide. She purses her lips. She opens one eye ever-so-slightly and looks up at you like she’s suspicious. She also gives the best “WTF” look I have ever seen. And, of course, she grins when she poops. It’s impossible to be more than slightly frustrated with her when she’s just so dang adorable. I know that getting frustrated myself can upset the baby. Something about babies sensing the emotions of their parents. So I make sure to keep myself calm and “shhhh” her and sing to her. She seems to like “Kiss the Girl” from The Little Mermaid. Which is funny because Tom will do the “whoa whoa” and “yah yah yah” parts in the background as obnoxiously as possible. And we laugh when Charlotte appropriately pulls a “WTF” face on us.

Another one of my joys is putting adorable clothing on her. Not the actual process because, my God the lungs on this child. But taking pictures of her in little dresses and such? Yeah, that is one of my favorite things.

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My baby is so cute! We haven’t even cracked half of the outfits we have for her. We received a lot of them at our baby shower and over the months after we found out she was a little girl. She may grow up to be a tomboy, which would be totally fine, but I am taking full advantage of putting girly clothes on her while I can. And NO ONE CAN STOP ME, MWAHAHAHAHA.

She’s currently sleeping in her swing. Her Daddy and I are both on our laptops, taking some time to breathe for ourselves. We just finished my homemade jambalaya (Paul Prudhomme’s recepie. My dad always used this particular one.) I cooked a meal only one week after labor. Yes, I feel like Superwoman. Tom took pity on me and chopped the onions, celery, and cut up the chicken pieces for me. He also cleaned the pot after I boiled the chicken. I did all the rest myself. It was about a 2 hour process, including prep. Much easier than gumbo, which requires a roux. Jambalaya does not. It tastes especially wonderful with chocolate milk. I highly recommend it. 🙂 People tell you to sleep when the baby sleeps. I must have heard that piece of advice dozens of times. I saw a meme on my birth board yesterday that said “Oh yeah? Am I supposed to clean when the baby cleans and cook when the baby cooks, too?” After a tough early morning, Tom and I both kicked into high gear today and tidied up the house a bit. I cleaned her bedroom and organized it a bit more (it looked like the baby tornado tore through it) and Tom did the laundry. Tom also did dishes and I cleaned the area around my spot on the couch. It doesn’t sound like much, but this was pre-coffee. I think that says something, haha.

So, at a week old, I still love her. Even though she’s having her moments of driving us CRAZY.


Parenthood: Day 4

I am so in love with my daughter. My entire pregnancy, I was very cynical and whined a lot about how miserable the whole thing was. I was told by many a lady on my birth board that it was fine. I just wasn’t a magical, glitter-pooping pregnancy unicorn. I was just being honest and realistic about pregnancy. I didn’t have to enjoy it. Well, I finally became a unicorn.

That first night in the hospital after Charlotte was born, I wanted to scream. I hated that she wouldn’t sleep in the weird plastic tub they gave me, felt guilty for wanting them to take her to the nursery (they don’t do that at our hospital anyway), was upset because I wasn’t able to breastfeed, frustrated that every nurse had an opinion and was super pushy and no one’s opinion was the same, and exhausted from days without sleep. I was in horrible pain every time I tried to use the bathroom, had to do so many things to treat the issues and the pain, and was terrified of infections and such. I thought I was going to have Postpartum Depression big time.

We got home from the hospital and everything changed. Charlotte sleeps in her swing. She sleeps in her cradle. She sleeps in our arms. She sleeps almost all day. I have plenty of time to get things done. Tom was so helpful in bringing the baby to me for feeding her. I got over the fact that we were having to feed her formula instead of breast milk. We were sleeping. We had time to eat and shower. She didn’t cry for an extended amount of time or have any issues whatsoever.

The day after we got home, she had a doctor’s appointment that went incredibly well. My OB, who wasn’t my favorite person while I was pregnant, was super helpful and patient and answered our questions without judgment. Who could be mean to that sweet little face? Anyways, her Daddy and I were beaming with pride and joy. I loved her. I enjoyed her. I found taking care of her to be fun and come naturally.

Today, she is 4 days old. Almost 5, given her time of birth. We had a lazy day of lying around, eating, sleeping, going to the bathroom, bathing, diaper changing, and spitting up everywhere. Her face is becoming much more expressive. She grins at us when she poops her diapers, like a little troll baby. Like “You mad, Mommy?” She squirms and wiggles and is starting to make little noises. We found out she likes to have her hair brushed. And I had a terrible nightmare that I left her in the car in a parking lot for hours and someone broke into my car and kidnapped her. I woke up hyperventilating and Tom brought her over to me, when I grabbed her and bawled my eyes out, so relieved she was ok and I hadn’t been such a terrible parent that some stranger kidnapped her for her own good.

I don’t feel like a bad parent. In fact, I feel like Tom and I are actually pretty good at this. We’ve been able to take our time to adjust and figure things out on our own. We’ve had resources to go to when we had questions and have taken time to get to know our little girl. We’d done a lot of research prior to her birth which has come in handy. We weren’t “prepared” exactly, but we weren’t completely clueless coming in, either.

I’m healing very nicely. My body is bouncing back pretty quickly. I’m currently wearing pre-pregnancy jammies. They don’t fit exactly how they used to, but with some diet and exercise, time will tell. My milk came in and I’m able to feed my baby myself now. We’re still struggling with some physical obstacles, but I am so elated to be able to provide my child with healthy, all-natural, antibody-fortified food. Today was a good day. I have found my unicorn and I’m proud of it. She’s my perfect little angel and I love being her Mommy.

I know a lot of women struggle with Postpartum Depression. As someone who has struggled with Depression as part of my Bipolar Disorder, I empathize. I can’t relate entirely because I never had the added sense of guilt that society places on a new mother if she isn’t all sunshine, rainbows, and glitter-pooping unicorns about her newfound motherhood. I do not write this post to make anyone feel bad. My experience is individual to me. I’m incredibly lucky to not be struggling with depression right now. For any and all mothers who are suffering/did suffer PPD, I don’t believe myself to be a better parent or more naturally suited for it than you. Lord knows I have faults. Depression is not a failure, simply a chemical imbalance. I wasn’t happy with pregnancy. I’m so blessed to be so happy so easily now that Charlotte has been born. If it weren’t for my easy healing and Charlotte’s easy temperament, I might not be all sunshine and rainbows right now.

Parenthood Day 4 is Heaven on Earth.


The Birth Story

I went into early labor late on Saturday evening, March 8, 2014. I was having slightly painful contractions every 20-30 minutes. I managed to go to sleep that night, but was awoken a few times by the pain. Sunday the 9th, the contractions were getting pretty painful, so Tom and I went to the hospital. I was checked out and it was determined (after three frustrating hours) that I was not far enough along to be admitted. So we went home. I went to work on Monday the 10th and worked 7 of my 8 hour day with horrible back labor and contractions coming 8-10 minutes apart in the morning, then 5-7 minutes apart in the afternoon. My bosses sent me home. The pain was getting to be unbearable.

I called my doctor’s office to ask if we should go to the hospital, not wanting to be sent home again. They gave me the go-ahead. When the nurses checked me out in triage, they told me I hadn’t made any progress over the day. They told me to walk around the hospital for 2 hours. I was a bit livid and in WAY too much pain. It felt like my back was being burned from the inside out. Tom and I walked the halls downstairs for about an hour, taking breaks to go to the bathroom and stop when it hurt too much. We then snuck back into my triage room where we tried applying counter-pressure to alleviate the pain. It worked a couple times, and then just made everything worse. The nurse finally came in and checked me. I had progressed just a LITTLE bit, so she (without warning) swept my membranes and stretched me. Then she called my doctor and BOOM I was admitted. We had been at the hospital for about 3 hours at this point.

Once in my room, they put me in a lukewarm bath with jets. The jets made my back feel better but I couldn’t brace myself enough against the contractions. Then the nurse put me on a yoga ball, which made the pain even worse. I was a little difficult to deal with at this point. Not that I’d been a joy in the last few hours, but I was snapping at the nurses. I was checked again at about midnight on March 11th, her due date, to see if I could have an epidural. Thank goodness, I had made enough progress. I got it at about 1am and became the sweetest, happiest woman on Earth. I tried to sleep, but it wasn’t going well because the nurse had to do her job and check on me. By 5am, we were fully dilated and I pushed a couple of times. My water hadn’t broken, so the doctor came in and did that for me about 5:15. They determined that there was meconium in the water, meaning that the baby had had her first bowel movement. At that point, they were worried that she might have aspirated some of it, which could cause complications. Having done a LOT of reading, I knew that most of the time, this resolved just fine. They called in the pediatrician to stand by and warned us she might not cry for a few minutes. They told us not to worry. I was feeling a lot of pressure and they were nagging me to push, so I was more irritated than worried.

By 5:56am, she was born screaming. No complications. She was 6 pounds and 15.5 oz, so they rounded up to 7 pounds even. She was 18.25 inches long. Tom cut the cord, took some pictures, and brought her over to me to hold for the first time. I was still in shock. One minute I was in excruciating pain and the next there was a baby in this world and she was mine and Tom’s. We attempted to feed her for the first time and both broke down in tears. She was so beautiful and sweet and we couldn’t believe she was finally here or that she was the same little creature who’d been kicking me and giving me heartburn for the last few months.

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The first night at the hospital was really tough. She wouldn’t sleep and I was struggling with my milk having not yet come in. I didn’t want to have to formula-feed her, but until my milk comes in, that’s exactly what I have to do. I was also in a great deal of pain and not feeling up to doing much. Tom was wonderful, getting up to hold the baby and giving her to me when I asked, taking her from me when I was getting overwhelmed, asking me if he could help me and not badgering me with “ARE YOU OK???” constantly. (He asked, just not too much.) We waited around til about 11am on the 12th, then they finally let us go home.

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Once we got home, everything changed. We were relaxing, we were comfortable, baby girl was sleeping, she was eating well, and we were just happier in general. We took long naps ourselves, having gotten almost no sleep since Saturday night. Thursday the 13th, we had an early doctor’s appointment for the baby. We were feeling rested and happy. The nurses and doctors cooed all over her and the outfit we had her in. She had already grown 3/4 of an inch and had gained back her birth weight. (Babies typically lose 10% of their initial birth weight in the first two weeks.) She got a perfect bill of health.

Last night was a bit harder. I was in a good amount of pain still. She was hungrier, less amenable to her pacifier, and a little cranky. We finally got a decent amount of sleep between 1 and 4 am. And even when she’s crying her little eyes out, she is the cutest, sweetest thing I have ever seen in my whole life. Tom is such a good daddy. He’s been doing a LOT of the work because I haven’t been able to move around a whole lot. He does it with a smile and an appreciative chuckle at our daughter’s little mannerisms. He helps me with everything I ask without complaint. He takes time to kiss me and tell me he thinks I’m beautiful, that I did such a good job giving birth to her, that he loves me, that he’s so happy, to express concern over how I feel, etc. I have a perfect little family and I honestly could not be happier. All the apprehension and worry I had the first night at the hospital has dissipated. And she is everything I could have hoped for and more.

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Not Their Area of Expertise

I received an email this morning from my boss, saying that, because I’ll be working up til I go into labor, maybe I should make a “to-do list” for my bosses or give them Tom’s phone number. So I give them Tom’s phone number and tell them that I have a to-do list for my work projects on my desk, they can use that. My boss then responds “No, I mean, if you go into labor here, we need to know what we’re supposed to do.” I was shocked. I really didn’t know what to say. Part of me wanted to tell them to boil water and fetch towels. Another part of me wanted to say “but Miss Scarlett, I don’t know NOTHIN’ about deliverin’ no babies!” But instead I told them I’d most likely be conscious in the event that I went into labor. And that it’s a slow process that takes on average 18 hours for a first-time mom (according to my OB, I’ve also heard 24 hours is average.) I also assured him that I would not be having the baby here, that I would call Tom and we’d go to the hospital.

The look of relief was hilarious.

Then I ruined it by saying “well, the doctors also recommend that you ‘labor at home’ for as long as possible without putting yourself at risk of not making it to the hospital on time. Since the hospital is just up the hill, I could probably complete an entire work day while in labor!” The panic came back. LOL

I think the funniest bit about it is that these 40-something year old men were going to lean on the expertise of my 25-year old husband to find out what to do if I went into labor til he could get here. I’ve been cracking up as I remember it every few minutes all day long.


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