Sunday, March 20, 2011

Happy Spring

...from a boy who has returned to his birthweight and a Mama who is beginning to have color in her cheeks again.

Now we are sprung from the pediatrician's until the Bean's two-month appointment, and we can concentrate on the more fun aspects of parenting, like the veritable poop fountain that erupted out of the bassinet yesterday. Bellagio's got nothin' on our place, I tell you what.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

40 Weeks: Pregnancy Roundup

Hey, can we pretend I posted this yesterday? When I started writing it? Thanks.

The Bean is doing better, by the way. He'd gained 4 ounces -- FOUR OUNCES! -- on Monday, and the LC was great and not dippy and gave us more things to do. We'll see the ped and her again tomorrow.

Happy Pi Day! I hope you're celebrating appropriately. Sugar has been doing so much work around here since the Bean was born (and before, but let's not get carried away with the past...) that I don't have the nerve to ask her to get out her rolling pin, but let it be known all across the Wide Interblags that she makes the best pie there is. (Which is not to be construed, Sugar, as an answer to that horrible trick question you posed some months back, "Do you think my pie is better or my mother's?" I still have enough sense to realize that either answer would violate one of my two central rules of conversation: 1. Never Denigrate The Cooking Of The Person Whose Food Is In Your Mouth; 2. Never Insult Somebody's Mama's Cooking.) Although I know that only -- what is it? 5%? -- of babies arrive on their due dates, I did like the idea that the Bean might have Pi Day as his birthday, with Sugar's pies in place of cake. Evidently he had other ideas. Already.

Even though he's been here for nearly two weeks, I'm still surprised that I'm not pregnant anymore. It all happened so quickly (rather unlike my writing of his birth story) -- no Toni Braxton contractions or other warnings, except for the Very Bloody Show -- and the whole business of having another person come flying out of one's nether regions I found so surreal. I can't say there's much I intended to do while pregnant that I didn't get to -- we did the photo shoot on what ended up being the last possible day, but it got done -- but I nevertheless don't feel...done. (On the other hand, I feel glad that I didn't have more time to obsess over the end of the era or to build my labor anxieties any higher.)

One of the things I didn't get to was ever doing the meme below. I never intended to do it regularly, as I am more than capable of boring you with petty complaints without a bulleted list (you're welcome, internet), but I thought I'd do a full-pregnancy version around my due date, as a means of distracting myself from obsessing over my fear of induction. And here it is my due date, so what the heck. Feel free to let your eyes glaze over and skip to the picture at the end.

How Far Along?
40 weeks "pregnant"; two weeks postpartum (in 7 hours).

Total Weight Gained/Loss?

At delivery day (well, 14 hours before, when I was last on a scale), +33 lbs over what I consider my normal weight; a bit more over my weight at my first OB visit.

Two weeks later, +22 lbs over normal. (I swear it was more like +18 earlier this week, but today I'm in my trusty maternity corduroys, so that's probably a more fair measurement, since I wore them to every OB appointment after the weather turned.)

Maternity Clothes:

Pretty much the same pair of Noppies corduroys since halfway through the second trimester or so. And ZOMG the Bella Band. The sine qua non (pants) of this whole experience. However: if they can make a band that holds my pants up, why, oh why can't the same company make tights that last more than 3 steps without cascading to the ground? And, for the millionth time, why doesn't anyone make a warm maternity coat? Thank heavens my tiny mother unaccountably had a (hideous) down coat that was big enough to squeeze around me, even at the end.


Sometimes, thanks to my best friend, the down body pillow. And, at the end, a sofa cushion behind my back, my dad's old down camping jacket under my hip, and a heating pad on top of the other hip. And a cat under one arm. How Sugar even fit in the bed is a mystery.

Postpartum, I haven't been having such exuberantly crazy dreams -- the weirdest one that didn't involve a hemorrhaging miscarriage (of which there were many; thanks, brain) had me taking George W. Bush to the pig races at the NC State fair and (I felt so dirty when I woke up!) accepting a plug of tobacco from him after giving him some betting tips. Instead, I am back to my childhood trick of night terrors, complete with hallucinations of the Bean in various poses of doom in the bed and plenty of incoherent yelling at poor Sugar. ("CAMERAS! I had TWO cameras!!! WHERE IS HE?????????")

Aches and Pains?

Yep. Back from early on; hips at the end were pretty brutal. Let's not talk about the part of labor before the epidural just right here except to say MORE OF THE SAME.

Postpartum, hips were a mess for a week -- I felt like I was made of two very different sized lego people, with a small top half and a hugely wide bottom. Lurching galore. Now they're pretty much back to normal. Pelvic floor still a little weird when I walk more than a block or so, but mostly I am okay now. Which is a good thing, because the ibuprofen was starting to make my stomach pretty unhappy.


Not so bad, as these things go. Terrible congestion the most consistent. Acupuncture was awesome for that. Bad acid reflux after 28 weeks or so, until Dr. Russian introduced me to Prevacid, with whom I will be having any future babies. Dizziness. Yucky heart palpitations and shortness of breath in the third trimester.

Medical Concerns:

A whole lot of freaking out about things that never caused any problems: that month of first trimester spotting, low PAPP-A at nuchal, fears of incompetent cervix related to mullerian anomalies, terror over prospect of birth with two cervices and vaginas. But everything was actually just fine, even the septum.


The first thing I was sure wasn't just gas came while we were at the beach in October. Sugar and I were lying in bed with her hand on my belly, and she felt it, too. It was weeks before she could feel it again, but I love that we felt the first one together.

By the third trimester, some of it was pretty uncomfortable -- rib kicks and especially the cervical head-butts.

It's strange now to feel something inside and know it has to be me.

Food Craving:

MILK. Some transient ones in the first trimester, most notably beer and, on one bizarre day, fish sticks. Lots and lots of protein, including one or two small meals in the middle of every night. I never thought getting up to eat could feel like a chore. Thank heavens for ricotta cheese on toast.

In general, I ate like a four-year-old. The Bean is 80% hotdogs and tatertots.

Food Aversions:

Coffee and tea both made me feel terrible, even after only a half-sip, in the case of coffee. Salmon seemed desperately gross. Later on, cereal and yogurt made me feel sick, but I think that was an acid thing.

Morning sickness?

Yes, but mild as these things go. No vomiting; only nausea. Worst around week 6. Best cures for me (besides getting out of the record heat) were raspberry candies, raspberry syrup in my water, sour drinks, spicy food (especially the salsa verde from our local taco place), and ZOMG coca-cola. Grandma was completely right about that. And since I wasn't using my caffeine allowance on coffee....


Opted not to find out the Bean's; glad we waited (although I would have put my money on boy if forced).

As for the other kind, yes.

What I miss:

Sleeping on my stomach once in a while. Beer (I sipped Sugar's wine sometimes and had my own a few times towards the end, but she doesn't drink much beer). Sitting in the hot tub at the beach.

My OBs gave a pretty short list of forbidden foods -- deli meat, soft eggs, sushi, factory- or store-prepared salads and dips (like packaged hummus), lox and the like...and maybe some other things? I can't remember, so it can't have been that bad. Except for the soft-cooked eggs. God Almighty, how I missed them. I've had at least a dozen already.

Baby preparedness:

HA HA HA. Ooops. Thank heavens for Schroedinger's newborn clothes stash and Shelli's pack and play, or we would have been SOL upon return from the hospital. I thought I had 3 more weeks.

Best Moments?

Tough to choose, but a few:

  • Driving in the car with Sugar after getting the "good first beta" call, when we were the only people (outside of the clinic) who knew.
  • Telling the friend who launched herself over the table to hug us.
  • Seeing our happy extended families when they were here for the wedding.
  • Feeling the Bean kick for the first time, with Sugar's hand on my belly.
  • Lying in the hospital bed (AFTER the epidural, thank you), listening to the Bean's heart on the monitor.

And one category I'm adding, Stupidest Decisions:

  • Forgetting about not eating prepared dips. One of the only times I threw up all 9 months.
  • Various over-estimations of my physical prowess, from the time I royally messed over my ribs getting out of a chair to the time I rendered myself unable to walk after getting carried away with walking to and from the food coop.
  • Going home from the OB's after she said I was 4 cm dilated and completely effaced.

One of these days, we will make the move to wordpress and post various belated pictures (as passworded posts; no intention of taking the blog as a whole private). For now, here's a face-less picture of me at 37 weeks, 5 days. I thought I still had 3 weeks to go, but this turned out to be as big as I got.

37 weeks 5 days

Friday, March 11, 2011

Well, Sort Of

Bunny asked to hear more about how breastfeeding was going well, but sadly, I guess it only sort of is.

From the perspective of my little world at home, it is going well. The Bean has gotten better at latching, my right nipple no longer feels (and looks) sandpapered, I have gotten well enough myself that I can nurse sitting up without passing out (the nurse at the hospital told me this was because the oxytocin -- which, paging Dr. Freud, I continually write as oxycontin -- was filling me with "feelings of well-being." I thought it was my crappy hematocrit and low blood pressure, but I do not have a medical degree.) and we've figured out a lying down method that works for all participants. The Bean nurses on a somewhat intense schedule but takes long-ish breaks at night, so we're even getting far more sleep than we have any right to. Now that my nips are no longer so scabby, I'm even enjoying it at times.

...and then we go to the pediatrician. The Bean, you see, is rather wee. Not compared to pre-termers, by any means, but still a bit small. He was born at 6 lbs 1.5 oz, having decided that he had met the terms of my "over 6, under 9" chanting and, at exactly 38 weeks, my full-term request. By the time we were at the pediatrician on day 3, his weight had dropped to 5 lbs 5 oz. Perfectly normal, which didn't stop me from bawling uncontrollably in the exam room. My milk wasn't in, and while colostrum is said to be just chock full of magical stuff, that stuff ain't calories. The pediatrician, for whom we will have to find a nickname shortly, mentioned something vague about supplementation and lactation consultants, but wasn't too worried, as long as we agreed to come into the office every day until he regained his birth weight. Stay in bed, she said, and nurse him every hour or two. He refused to eat that often, but my milk came booming in that afternoon, and the next day, he weighed 5lbs 7 oz. Success! Keep doing what you're doing, she said. The following day, 5 lbs 8 oz. Come in on Monday, she said. I bet he'll be back at birth weight already.

Or not. After a weekend of furious nursing, better latching, more diapers, and so forth, he had held steady at 5 lbs 8 oz. Come back Wednesday, she said, and why don't we time the appointment so you can go to the lactation consultant group session afterwards? Two more days of furious nursing; 5/8 again. I cried all over the LC, who was not at all dippy and who, despite her wig and frum dress, later laughed when I said that given my choice of partner, I wasn't worried about using breastfeeding as birth control. She evaluated his latch and showed Sugar exercises to improve it. I nearly passed out in the group session, in a combined assault of low blood pressure and what proved to be the violent chills of a fever that lasted the rest of the day. I also nearly died of my jealousy of the other woman there, so hale and hearty with her 8lb baby, especially once I found out she had given birth after me. Why was I shaking so hard I was afraid I'd drop the Bean while she was sitting there looking only a little tired?

Back home, we practiced those exercises and nursed even more. Surely, there was a little more of a double-chin, a bit more flesh under those arm creases. Nope: 5/8 again today. And so the Bean came to have his first mouthful of formula and I came to call the doctor's preferred LC and subsequently to break out the pump rather earlier than I had hoped. And I hate it already, for the record.

Part of what's so frustrating is that when we're all at home, everything seems fine. He eats what seems like a zillion times a day, he pees and poops enough to keep the diaper companies happy, and so on. And then, every two days, we go in for what feels a very aptly named exam and find that we still aren't passing. We go home, study some more, work still harder, and think this time we might pass, but we don't. And we don't even know we're not going to pass until we're there. (I know some of you are seeing the parallel to follicle checks, right? And conception in general -- only this time I'm responsible for two bodies that, between them, aren't doing it right.)

Speaking of my body, that's another thing that's well, sort of. I'm doing better than I was -- I'm sitting up to type this, for instance, and today's attempt to take the subway to the pediatrician was successful (Wednesday I had to take a car home) -- but walking up the ramp to our subway station still left me light-headed. The OB nurse says I just need to drink gatorade. I'm a little tired of the OB nurse, frankly. Luckily, Sugar has been feeding me plenty of beef, which is, I think, a bit more to the point.

The silver lining of my being so wiped out is that I haven't so far experienced any of the sense of possessiveness of the baby that other bio-moms have reported. I'm so glad when Sugar can take him from me, because I need the rest and he's with his mom. I was overwhelmed with jealousy the first time we took the subway together, I admit. He was strapped to her chest, and people kept gasping over how tiny and cute he is, while I limped along ten feet behind like some troll aunt. That was no fun. Likewise when we went to the taco place around the corner for lunch last weekend and, as they left to go on to the botanic gardens and I began to lurch homeward on my still-unhinged hips, the pair of cops who'd just cooed over the baby saw my swollen belly and said, "You're next!" It did sting to be still so wrecked from labor and be invisible. (This interaction occurred more than once that day, and when I'd say I'd given birth to him, the follow-up was always, "You had a c-section?" Apparently vaginal birth is supposed to leave a person nimble and sprightly. I'll note that if there's a next time.) But none of that has made me feel possessive, per se, just ready to be healthier, so we can all three walk together.

As your reward for reading this far, here is a picture of my favorite bit of the Bean's hair, the hurricane cowlick on his forehead. I imagine it will fall out, but I hope it will take its time:

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Early Notes

Hi folks. Thank you for all the well-wishing. It is very appreciated. We are, predictably, tired, overwhelmed, and very, very happy.

You shall have a real post one of these days, but for now, a few notes and some pictures:

Note: Epidurals are really, really wonderful things. I have altered my original position towards those who would discourage their use (not those who would not choose them, which is entirely different) from anger to cold, murderous rage. More on this later.

Note: Anemia is a really sucky thing. My deep sympathies to those of you who run in this direction. I've never been like this before, and sweet mother of pearl, I hope it's over soon.

Note: There must be some non-dippy lactation consultants out there, but they don't seem to work for Kips Bay Mega Hospital. Breastfeeding is going pretty well now, no particular thanks to the class we attended, at which we learned a lot of vague and racist stuff about women's huts in "traditional societies" like "China...and, um, India." Quoth Sugar: I've been to China. They live in high-rises. We also learned the terribly pertinent information that, "if you swaddled newborn puppies, they would DIE." The more you know.

Note: All those ridiculous things people say about their babies? About how their particular pooping raisin is the most beautiful, most perfect, smells heavenly, and so clever already? Yeah, it turns out that's all true -- only it's true of our son, not theirs. (We will not discuss how I may have found myself transfixed by emerging meconium.)

Note: Sugar has had occasion already to learn that diapering goes a lot better if you remember, after undressing and un-velcroing and cleaning and ointmenting but before re-dressing, to put an actual diaper on the baby.

Sugar and the squeaker are snoozing next to me, and it's about time to hit the hay myself. So. Pictures. Soon we will make the inevitable move to wordpress and put up some with us in them, because there are some of Sugar that you simply must see. (Pro-tip: you can also see some if you click over to flickr -- thanks to those of you who've warned us about this breech, but we've decided that we aren't worried if y'all find out our true identities; the pseudonyms and so forth are to keep bosses, etc., from finding this place with a quick google.) We'll get you his name in some non-googleable way, too. xo

Working On His Dance Cycle
Rehearsing his dance cycle.

Pope in Oven Mitts
We call this look Pope in Oven Mitts

Thank heavens for internet people! The Bean's first bed, courtesy of Shelli. Wardrobe by Schroe (all pictures -- yeah, we were totally prepared, why?).

Nanny Michaela
Michaela is taking her nannying very seriously.

The Creature Regarded Him Balefully
Orson is less convinced.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Living the Dream

Hi everyone. We are all home and everyone is healthy. You'll still have a wait a few days for the birth story, as Bionic is feeling pretty wiped out at the moment.

I thought in the meantime I would share the odd things my dream brain has been coming up with. Apparently it doesn't like lactation consultants. Although I understand that having anxiety dreams about the new tiny person in the house is normal, I don't really understand why this is the recurring anxiety dream:

We've called a lactation consultant to come help Bionic and the Bean nurse. The one we have called is supposed to be pretty cool, not all crazy and talking about the women's tent in 'traditional cultures' and shit. The doorbell rings and I go to answer it. Instead of the person we've called it's someone who has heard that we called a lactation consultant and might need help. She is an enormously tall bruiser of a woman with bleached blond hair and tons of mascara. She's wearing an adult-sized fleece polka-dot onesie with ears and is carrying a baby wearing a matching outfit. She totally has the crazy eyes. Behind her is a sort of dangerous looking version of Wallace Shawn.

Somehow we recognize these people as rumored vigilante lactation consultants. Both Baby and I shout at them that we refuse their help because, like vampires, it's important not to invite them into your house or they will never go away. I wake up as they are pushing past us into our living room.

Um, ok brain. Bionic isn't even having much trouble nursing. I think we could shelve this particular issue, whatever it is, for the moment. Geez.

In case you were worried, in the real world everything is going fine. Bionic is anemic, so quite tired, but basically OK. Bean slept through portions of last night, has gained weight since yesterday, all the right stuff. We've worked out our insurance woes. Even our cats even seem pretty unfazed by the new situation.

Check back in in a few days for real baby details.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Bean is Born!

Meet the bean!


Baby went into labor yesterday afternoon and had Baby Boy Bean at 3:06 am this morning. More details to follow when we are back from the hospital . . .