|"Venetian Red Pearl"|
Monday, September 29, 2014
Sunday, September 14, 2014
She's a f*cking catch, you guys.
Thursday, September 11, 2014
If nothing else, head over to the Rookie Moms site to see Evie on her adorable yoga mat.
Monday, September 8, 2014
Monday, August 25, 2014
|Evie crotch-dangling in her Baby Bjorn carrier|
Back the fuck off, you guys.
Thursday, July 31, 2014
I say that not just to brag-- although, yes, I'm kind of a baller-- or to point out how good frozen custard really is. I say that because I live in the fire now; the earth is my frying pan.
Friday, July 25, 2014
|Doula Beth with Baby Evie|
"I should have gotten a co-sleeper,"
"I should have swaddled her more tightly,"
"I should have been more assertive with baby-wearing," ad infinitum.
Those, though, are accessories: they might have helped, or they might not. Maybe Evie wouldn't have been any more comfortable in a co-sleeper than she was in that damn bassinet. It could go either way. What I'm sure I should have done, though, is keep our postpartum doula on the premises at all times.
Thursday, June 12, 2014
|Idealized fucking breast-feeding|
My last post was about how our birth experience didn't go as hoped-for. There were few hippies present, few comfort methods employed, and no birthing tub at all. It was like dominoes, as all our best intentions toppled.
I actually felt okay about it. It was out of my control. There was no guilt. First, there were no natural contractions, so we had to scratch the homebirth and go to the hospital for Pitocin induction. Two dominoes: hospital, Pitocin. Plus, the Pitocin scratched the no-IV plan, so I was strapped to the bed. That meant I couldn't use any of the comfort methods we practiced, like walking or squatting or using a birthing ball. Another domino there. Then the epidural, then the c-section. Nothing went as planned, but I could hardly feel guilty that my cervix swelled.
The HospitalHarder to accept were the faulty breastfeeding efforts. Evie started out great, nursing very easily, cozy against me. It hurt like a motherfucker. Her latch looked right-- lips flared, her mouth wide-- but it hurt so much I was sure she had a bad latch. What I remember from our breastfeeding class and related reading was that pain came from a bad latch, not "Dude, it will hurt a lot." I could have skimmed; who knows. I can only say I was surprised.
My figuring at that point was, hey, the really important thing is to get this kid fed. Especially since she only had colostrum to work with, and she'd had to wait a couple hours after she was born to nurse, it seemed like the right thing to do was to let her get her fill, then worry about correcting her latch when we got home.
|Nipple goddamn shield, pre-sugar water|
It worked. I felt terrible.
I don't remember why I asked another nurse for a pump, especially since I was still only producing colostrum at that point. Maybe it was another part of the plan to draw out my deformed nipple. I wonder if that was the beginning of the end.
We got home around noon on Easter Sunday. My parents came over with food and comfort while we struggled to get our bearings. I don't remember when, after they left, things got shady, but we were up most of the night with an angry baby. There was a 4am car ride that kept Evie asleep only till we got home. Panicked, Heather and I agreed that we would take her to the pediatrician first thing in the morning.
|Newborn goddamn formula|
We had formula that both the doctor's office and the hospital had given us. (Such a controversy! I disapprove of the message it sends, yes, but it was also really handy to have on hand when the breastfeeding stalled...) Heather mixed it, then filled a syringe. Evie had no reaction to the taste, which was handy but heartbreaking: nothing special about my breast milk at all.
Breastfeeding ResourcesAfter leaving the pediatrician's office, contemplating the dark prospect of formula-feeding that lay before us, I frantically texted Midwife Amy. She asked when our postpartum doula, Beth, was due to visit.
"Not till tomorrow," I said.
"Can I come by?" she replied.
|Heather, Evie, and the fucking bottle|
That made two bonafide natural-birth, womanly-art experts, kindly absolving me of this shameful act. First I had a c-section and missed the Golden Hour of baby-bonding, and now the profound connection between mother & child through nursing was shot to fucking hell. They were as qualified to question me as anyone could be, but they didn't. Of course, they were as qualified to help me find a solution as anyone could be, but they couldn't. Turns out, just like the birth, sometimes things suck and the all-natural plan doesn't work.
A little while after Beth gave me the bad news about Evie's greed, I sat all dejected-like in the rocking chair as Beth changed Evie. (Seriously, postpartum doulas are the best.) She was cradling the baby when she turned to me:
"She's trying to suck."
|Evie and another fucking bottle|
Beth handed Evie to me, and she casually latched on. Like it happened all the time.
After that, I got lucky when Evie nursed once or twice a week, after filling up on the bottle first. This left me pumping constantly and frantically, trying to keep up with her appetite. I cried about it all the time.
Evie is just eight weeks today. Over the past two weeks, she's begun to be oddly flexible about bottle and breast. One argument might be that she's had several weeks to get confident that she'll be fed, so she doesn't need to be so desperate. Another argument might be that she's kind of an asshole.
Monday, June 2, 2014
|Celebrating Evie's birthday|
"So, what's up: theoretically speaking, there's a 72-hour clock on this leaking before the Powers That Be require me to be induced (and deliver) in the hospital. Usually women start contractions on their own within that period of time, but we'd like to avoid the hospital so we've been trying to get things rolling on our own. Today's attempts at castor oil were non-starters. If nothing happens on its own by Wednesday morning, Amy is going to strip the membrane and may end up breaking the water as the next option. (Presumably that just means making a bigger hole than the little one that's open now.) If none of that starts it, we'll have to go to the hospital.
Amy says the baby is still doing very well, and I'm fine physically. Still, it's kind of a shitty situation and I'm edgy at best. Heather's more stable, so you can reach out to her if you feel antsy. I'll give you guys a heads-up when there are contractions or Amy takes some kind of action; otherwise, it's probably safe to assume nothing has happened and I don't have the emotional wherewithal to talk about it."
Tuesday, April 15, 2014
So far, my labor is made up of leaking amniotic fluid into an unending supply of white washcloths. Monday, when this started off, the leaking thing seemed like it was for the best: the alternatives were a) nothing happening and b) a gush that might mean a speedy, scary labor. We were definitely ready for something to happen and not ready to rush to the hospital when my body drained itself. A slow leak is supposed to lead to a steady labor, and, since your body can replenish amniotic fluid for a while, you're not stuck in an emergency scenario either where your couch or the baby's immediate health is concerned.
That's immediate health, though. You can't just leak forever. When the fluid can get out, bacteria and other nasty shit can get in, and that puts a bit of a clock on it. I mean, hopefully nobody's putting half-eaten popsicles up their vaginas, but my guess is that they feel pretty tempted to poke and prod to see what's up. This afternoon, about 30 hours since I started leaking, Midwife Amy came by the house to check the baby's heart-rate and assuage her parents' fears, and she was firm about skipping any vaginal exam. I was okay with that.
What I am not okay with is my iPhone, which has brought together the concerns of our loved ones with my intensely unstable hormones. Once people who love you and/or your baby get the idea that the baby is forthcoming, they find it difficult to go 12+ hours without news. That's adorable, except that there is nothing to stress out a lady in stalled labor like being asked about her labor, and I really thought I'd make it to active labor before telling nice people to go to hell.
The guidelines vary by practitioner. Obviously, home-birthers are more of the "let it happen naturally" type. The midwife's office has a big poster that says "My body is not a lemon" in the front room, and that's the general outlook: women's bodies are designed to give birth, and most women's bodies will do that safely, without medical interventions. Most women will begin contractions within 72 hours of their water leaking, and Amy's inclination is to let my body start labor on its own.
Monday, April 14, 2014
Initially, Midwife Amy was enthusiastic (per my comment that there was some blood on the toilet paper, she replied, "AWESOME") but emphatic about my need to sleep in advance of the blessed event.
Since I'd had no contractions yet, we've got a ways to go, leaving me the opportunity to clean the kitchen, do some laundry, and watch TV. Heather stayed late at work to finish up some final tasks (including what I would call an ill-advised email across the company to tell them my water had broken), went to the grocery store for provisions, then came home and started cleaning. I'm not sure if it's more because people are going to be in the house or because the baby is going to be in the house, but, listen, folks, it's clean.
Bear in mind, I'm not stupid enough to tell a lot of people, but it only takes a few texts and phone calls to f*ck up a solid snooze. I've learned that Heather is not okay with me missing a call or text at any time during the third trimester, and I was pretty sure that after I told her my water seemed to have broken I was not going to get any nap-time exemptions. Combine that with the animal-control company calling to confirm our appointment for raccoon investigation tomorrow... I figured I'd catch up on my sleep when Heather was in the house and I could ignore the phone.
|For lack of any other resident, yes, the cat's in the cradle.|
Wednesday, April 9, 2014
Sunday, April 6, 2014
|There are handles so you can hang tight as you labor. What a nice thought!|
Granted, the new estimate gives me a little more time to finish up with fence-repair estimates and vet trips. I went for a massage on Thursday, saw a movie Friday, did some laundry on Saturday... But, yeah, the other thing Amy said was that she was going out of town for the weekend on some obligatory family road trip, so, should her estimate fail, we'd be reliant on pinch-hitting hippies to bring our baby into the world.
Friday, April 4, 2014
|Oh, lord, I am so famous!|
So here it is, folks! I'm a guest contributor to the oh-so-fabulous Rookie Moms website, and the screenshot to the left there is their Facebook post marking the occasion.
Hopefully this is the first of several guest posts: founding Rookie Moms Heather and Whitney graciously invited me to contribute to their 2014 series of new-mom challenges with a crew of other wise & witty ladies, and we've only got to wait on Miss Evie to appear before things get going.
Anyway, hit up my post on their site, comment generously, and browse around!
Tuesday, April 1, 2014
Which is to day, I feel like an asshole for using the word "insanity" against long-standing principle, but the last few days have been fucking rough.
Monday, March 31, 2014
Friday, March 28, 2014
Thursday, March 27, 2014
Friday, March 14, 2014
Saturday, March 1, 2014
|The belly on a more relaxed day...|
Thursday, February 13, 2014
Wednesday, February 12, 2014
Tuesday, February 11, 2014
|Pelvic-rock position, or, baby in a belly hammock|
Sunday, January 26, 2014
Monday, January 13, 2014
Fine. Be difficult about it.
Wednesday, January 8, 2014
Monday, January 6, 2014
I’ve been eating Harry & David pears like I’ve never had fruit before. It’s probably going to make me super-sick, but… Speaking of which, I definitely threw up all my movie popcorn last Tuesday after seeing “Philomena.” Mainly I was pissed because I felt terrible through the whole movie, then didn’t get it out of my system till we were home. What I’m finding is that I can’t handle anything snug over my belly, or near it, so even unbuttoned jeans are intolerable. I have a generous elastic waist on my skirt today, but it’s got to be rolled down. I don’t understand this late-second-trimester resurgence of nausea, nor, I think, do my co-workers, but the past few weeks have been shaky on that front. My theory is that Evie feels the need to assert herself on holidays, just to remind us she’s in the mix. I got sick on our wedding day and every major occasion since then, so why not New Year’s Eve?
The upside, I guess, is that the expensive pears have stayed down thus far and the accursed popcorn did not. Perhaps my body is just combating the poor nutritional choices I’ve made. And then some.
Much as Heather makes fun of me for bemoaning nausea after early-pregnancy declarations that I would welcome it—declarations which she happily mocked over New Year’s Eve dinner while I tried to breathe through the dry heaves (so sick, in fact, that I forgot to bitch her out for it)—I do recognize the privilege of it. I love that it’s getting hard for me to turn over in bed or get off the couch. I only get to wrangle a baby bump for so long, so I’m going to rub on it and talk to it at every opportunity. (Last night I tried to read to Evie at bedtime, but found that my voice couldn’t match the dry tones of Robertson Davies. I wasn’t going to start her off on misinterpreted literature.) I think I’d be appreciative of pregnancy no matter our experience, but after years of begging the universe for a baby, we’re going to soak this up.
There’s a big part of me that feels like an asshole for being pregnant. I feel such an allegiance to other people who’ve fought, or are fighting, to conceive, that succeeding feels wrong. As giddy as we were when my first insemination worked, there’s a sense in which this pregnancy feels—to me—like a slap in the face to Heather. I remember when other people’s pregnancies felt like a slap in the face to me: when Heather’s sister accidentally got pregnant with her fourth child, for example. There’s a book I came across once, titled something like Every Drunk Teenager; Why Not Me?, and I think that pretty much captures the sentiment.
Obviously fertility has no basis in virtue—terrible people get pregnant, as do good people in terrible marriages and any number of people who can’t afford it or aren’t equipped to be good parents—but I think we all get sucked in by The Secret and its ilk, preaching that thoughts become things. The example they give is that a boy who really wants a new bike can, by imagining that he has it and envisioning himself riding it, by dint of will-power, bring that bike into his possession. This is an alluring theory, except that the (largely unaddressed) flip side suggests that, if you are poor, or handicapped, or your child dies of cancer, it’s probably because you didn’t envision health and wealth with enough fervor and conviction. (In the movie, the guy who assiduously locks his bike is destined to have it stolen because of his negative expectations. Um…) If we had spent more energy envisioning Heather’s swollen belly, would she have gotten pregnant? Did I get pregnant because I spent five sleepy minutes every few nights on visualizations of embryo implantation? Or—or—is it that I’m younger than Heather and have a bigger egg supply to start with, and visualizing had not a whit to do with it?
Still, I pretended that the universe felt we’d “earned” a baby because of how hard we struggled over the past few years, and I guess there’s always temptation to think there’s balance and justice in the world. Maybe it’s only because our thoughts became things that I credit it. I never claimed to be consistent.