Archive for March, 2012

From Where I Lie

I am lying on my right side, propped up on my elbow and reaching over a sleeping/nursing baby with my left hand to type on my laptop which sits precariously on the pillow buttressing said baby’s back. If K hadn’t brought me my laptop, I’d be doing what I now do 75% of my day: wish the baby was either sleeping or nursing, wonder when I’ll lose all feeling and function of my supporting arm, stare at the invariably messy room, daydream about the food I can’t access in spite of insane hunger, try to wiggle into a less uncomfortable position knowing full well I will not sleep, wonder how I’ll ever go back to working — even part time, and will myself to not pick at the baby’s cradle cap. I also take several long gazes upon the most magnificent thing I’ve ever made. So know that I am not complaining.

Who could give this baby shots??

Tomorrow is the dreaded day. J’s first round of immunization shots. I wish I was one of those conscientious parents who research the heck out of things regarding their kids, but at best I’m shaping up to be the kind of mom that puts her faith in the research of others and who looks at the health care provider over serious under-eye bags of sleep deprivation and says, “Please just tell us what to do when.” So we waited till 3 months and are doing 3 immunizations in 3 installments. I wasn’t able to be in the room when she had her frenotomy; poor K had to do that one solo. But there’s no getting out of this… there are just too damn many shots! I know J is going to do well; it’s me I’m worried for. I’m still so hormonal that I can’t even listen to K describe a dream she had about another kid hurting J. Driving by a billboard advertising child abuse awareness brings me to tears.

I suppose before I sign off, I should mention that after two sessions of intense internal hemorrhoid zapping, I am feeling a lot better. The process is crazy and one I wouldn’t recommend for a good time but totally¬†suggest if you need it.

Big Girls

Josie is 3 months old! Three months… the end of the 4th trimester… a magical time when everything gets easier. Or so say all the books and websites and people. Is it fun to lie? How does lying benefit them? I’m still reeling from the 12-weeks of pregnancy nausea lie.

In some ways, some things have gotten easier as J has gotten bigger. For one, she’s literally gotten bigger. She’s a whopping 11 pounds now (so petite!). A bigger baby with better neck control is simply easier to handle. She’s also more consistently sleeping in 3-4 hour shifts at night (knock internet wood). But we’re still struggling with nursing. It seems to be her belly upset that makes it hard almost every time. The obvious suffering is very hard to take emotionally (I’m talking about me here, not her).

Getting bigger has brought on a new hard thing. Namely, teeth. Who starts teething at 3 months?! My daughter, who now drools and sucks on everything she can. What she can’t get into her mouth yet for lack of motor skills frustrates the hell out of her and makes her cry. How can we manage teething before we’ve gotten a handle on nursing?!

I have also worn some big girl pants as of late. I sucked it up, so to speak, and began seeing a holistic pelvic care practitioner. What the heck is that? Well, it’s a modality in which the practitioner does internal (that’s right!) work to help increase blood flow to the organs and muscles of the pelvic floor. This encourages relaxation and healing, builds muscle strength and speeds recovery from difficult pregnancies or childbirth. Yo, I’m prime candidate material, no?¬† I kept putting it off because I thought it would be horrible for anything to be “up there” yet after so much cutting and tearing. But I went and it wasn’t so bad. It seemed to help, and I’m going back for more next week.

Now to the other hole… (you can always count on me to be frank about body issues on this blog). By doing some other bodywork, it became clear that my sacral and tailbone pain are not emanating from a compromised coccyx. So I must face the horrible fact that my hemorrhoids, which were bad in late pregnancy and ridiculous after the birth, just aren’t going away. Guess what? There’s a lady in town who uses electrical currents to remove them. One more appointment for me!

Lastly, we as a family have been struggling with the reality that I have zero of the core strength I need to carry and bounce Josie (major dancing and bouncing is the only way to get our joy bundle to sleep). It’s so hard when Josie is crying and I either have to pass her off to K, who has started back to work and needs some baby-free time, or I have to walk around bouncing her forever, which hurts a ton and then I’m crying. So, yesterday, we went to a pilates studio where the instructor specializes in mamas. She delivered some difficult news… she says I have some significant diastisis recti, which is the separation of the rectus abdominis muscle into right and left halves. This isn’t uncommon, but it’s gonna take a lot of work and time (once I have an operating pelvic floor) to get my belly mended and my core nice and strong.

“Big girls don’t cry,” huh? Another lie… and this time in song!

Seal Said It Best

We’re never gonna survive, unless…

Pretty much this having a newborn — a colicky one — is making me feel a tad nutter. Seriously, I’m completely out of my mind freaked out one day and elated the next. For example, the day I wrote my previous post I was coming off of three days of screaming. I am overjoyed to report that I am writing to you from day two of happy eating baby. She is sleeping and nursing (albeit only side-lying, but still) and only fussing a bit with each transition (i.e., from playing to eating, sleeping to waking, awake to sleeping, etc.).

Does it help an insane amount that it’s been sunny and gorgeous here the past two days? You betcha! I am not NOT meant to live in the Pacific Northwest. And yet.

Today we even got out of the house to go somewhere other than the grocery store! This photo depicts K and Josie at our walking-distance eatery — a capitulation to Josie’s desire for a cornmeal blueberry pancake.

See what I mean about the swingin’ mood? I should just be grateful for the great hours and days as they happen and not worry about the crap ones to come, right?

A shout out to Mama Universe for the spring weather and to our friends who have reached out to us during these first months with comfort and support. Thanks for knowing what we need even when we don’t.

Game of Life

The deed is done. I couldn’t be in the room, and I was still traumatized by being brought a bloody-mouthed baby after the procedure. She was inconsolable at first, refused the boob, but eventually took the bottle. That night was scary hard until a friend came by and did some cranial sacral work on Josie. She calmed down enough to eat and sleep a little after that. The next morning, we went to see the lactation consultant who suggested the frenotomy. She showed us how to stretch beneath the upper lip and under the tongue so that the wounds didn’t heal back into place. She also showed us some exercises to get J’s tongue moving around and strong. I wanted nothing to do with any of it.

We also played the get-her-to-eat-and-weigh-her-every-five-minutes game, which I hate. She never takes the boob well on command and so the weighing shows she eats very little. Then we get to hear things like “Well, she eats very slowly and on the lower end of what we like to see” or “Since last time she seems to have only gained a half ounce per day, and we like to see babies gaining about an ounce at day.” So what am I supposed to do with this information besides worry??? It’s not for a lack of trying! To her credit, the lactation consultant was very good with Josie and excellent about checking in and following up on questions. When I called her crying about my flow disappearing, she called back right away and talked me down. She definitely knows her stuff — even if I don’t like needing the help.

While I’m glad if the procedure makes her future life better, it doesn’t seem to have changed our feeding experiences… yet. She cries as much as ever when put to the boob and fusses on the bottle and pretty much the rest of the day too if not unconscious. I’m not saying we don’t get any smiles all day long, but she just seems despondent, miserable, hurting(?), etc. most of the time.

I feel like I’m in a video game where you have to bank a certain amount of energy by feeding this baby. The pitfalls are many. You chase the baby through the maze, and sometimes she stops and sips but mostly she runs away. And sometimes she eats but kicks and wiggles and fusses so hard that she is draining the energy stores as fast as they’re gaining. The worst part is that there isn’t a Game Over reset at the end of each day; you start out a little further behind all the time. The stress of never catching up, of never getting close to the minimum 24 ounces a day into the baby then depletes your own energy stores and that effects your milk supply. It’s a really shitty video game.

I can put this into perspective as well as anyone: we are not in a war-torn country, she does not have a hole in her heart, and we are still both at home with her. And yet.

I was so hoping against all the fear that the frenotomies would help immediately, that Josie would eat better, and all would be right with the world overnight. K and I look at each other sometimes, to the soundtrack of screaming, with such terror — it’s the complete responsibility and complete helplessness. We had heard there’d be months like this, but please… Seriously, please please please.

(Disclaimer: No men were harmed in the making of this blog.)

The Family

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