Tuesday, October 23, 2007

time to move on

it felt like time for a change. either i'd kill this blog off completely by slowly starving it of writing and readers or i'd find a new place and a new angle and a new reason to write this shit down. once i found a title, i found a reason for its being.
so here
it is.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

still here

Where to begin? I miss blogging but I cant seem to find the time or to devote my little bit of free time to it. Having three kids is like playing whack-a-mole; two are down, one pops up, three are up, one is down, you get the idea. Somebody is always up. Often all three are “up” and they all want something right now. Its exhausting. I should give up ever having time to myself. This is where hired help comes in. I am all for having as much help as one can afford. My martyr, we shouldn’t spend the money days are over. As a wise girlfriend used to say, “get off the cross, somebody needs the wood.”

I’m writing this while LG (the baby) is screaming. She tends to wake up 40 minutes into a given nap for no apparent reason. My other daughter did this too. Just realized other daughters initials are ME. That is so appropriate. Turns out the sleep sorceress didn’t solve all of our problems and I spend a few weeks OBSESSING over every single nap. Things deteriorated until I finally swaddled her butt up again and then she finally started napping again. That was short-lived. Just as well because many of her days are spent getting in and out of the car as we drop off LA (my 6 year old son). I cant seem to come up with good identifying, short names for these kids for the purpose of the blog. Anyway the other day: get 3 kids out door, two of them, ready for school (clothed, teeth brushed, shoes on, lunches and snacks made, baby ready,) LA too school at 8 (siblings in tow), kill time, ME to school at 9, off to chiropractor to fix my neck which is killing me from side-lying, co-sleeping), home at 10:45, no time for nap in basket, out at 11:15 to get LA, kill time, ME at 1:00, home. This crazy schedule has kept me up many a night trying to figure out how it would work and how LG would sleep in the process. I have long been a believer in proper naps at home, not on my person.

So that what we’ve been up to. Its working out better than I thought it would. Guess i catastrophized so much that the reality of the situation isn’t as bad as I’d imagined. It helps a lot that LG is so darn cute and SWEET. She is not the best napper and likes to wake up on the hour at night sometimes but all things considered the best single word descriptor of her is SWEET. She smiles from ear to ear and coos and squeaks. This time around, on my third baby, I really looked forward to the smiles. The first three months were pretty hellish and I was closer to the edge of a bottomless, hopeless pit of depression than I’ve ever been in my life. It doesn’t matter that I wanted this baby so very much, the reality is that not sleeping makes you crazy, miserable, depressed, hopeless, resentful, you name it.

I’m still not sleeping much. A typical night involves LG down for the night at 7, up at 1 or so (sometimes 2, lately more like 11), then up again at 3 or so and frequently up again at 4 and 5 and 6. She is sleeping right next to me. This is part of the problem. How can she be expected tosleep with her face right next to my bulging breasts? Trouble is if I just sleep and nurse at the same time, I don’t wake up as much as if I had to get her from her basket and put her back (or get RM to do it?) this is where “the truest thing ever said about parenting comes into play.” Listen up: there are actually two very true things. One is: with kids, its either pay now or pay later.” 6 years into parenting, man is that true. The other one is this little gem: “With kids, the days are long, the years are short.”
So very, very true. I digress.

I’m still reading blogs for news of new parents, babies getting ready to be born, and babies being made. I am really enjoying the new parents blogs especially Jennifer and bri. I just don’t seem to be able to do one of my own. Blogging for me was a way to express my angst and fury and terror and have compassionate wise women bear witness and weigh in. I guess I don’t need it anymore but I do miss it. I don’t think I have the energy to write a parenting blog that will be worth my while. I need the angst or the controversy or something interesting.

There are lots of interesting things that happen with three kids and with my own personal journey. Yesterday my three-year-old asked, on her way to preschool, “when we die, will we be back together?” when I asked “will who be back together?” she named herself and her brother and baby sister. Woah.

LA and ME love their sister. Over 3 months into it, they think she’s the greatest. They STORM up the stairs to see her first rolling over, they delight in her doing grabbing her blanket or inadvertently whacking them in the head. They operate on her with their doctor kit, they stamp her with a stamper, they dance and sing for her, they talk to her in saccharine-sweet, high-pitched voices, they fight over who gets to sit closest to her. It’s pretty cute.

Time to get back to it. Robbing peter to pay paul. Day in. Day out.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Return from newborn hell

I think I am out of newborn hell. My computer is on and i am attmepting a post for the firsttime in weeks. i've been busy jiggling, swaddling, shhshing, bouncing, reswaddling, and basically carrying a baby that only wants to slept when she is being held. all this while trying to care for my two other kids. we had two weeks of getting out early to take my son to camp. it was hell. hmm. how to get two kids dressed, fed, teeth brushed (my teeth are optional), shoes on, lunches made, my own self dressed and fed a little but not cafeinated sadly, while dealing with a fussy baby and out the door by 8:30. into the car, out of the car, back in then out again. repeat later on all with ababy who criesthru it all some days. it sucked. carrying her all day was a drag. trying to pump breastmilk when i am off dairy? maybe impossible. no creature comforts happening.

fortunately i still had the phone number of the sleep consultant that we used when my first daughter wouldnt sleep. the sleep consultant/sorceress has changed our lives i think. she said thet LS needs al that holding because we've taught her to need it. one day later i am putting her down awake and unswaddled and walking away. walking. not tiptoeing, hoping for three minutes before she starts wailing. so far it is working. amen. more on that later. i may have gotten an easy baby after all. ironic that it may have been me making her into a difficult baby.

LS is 8 weeks old tomorrow. it's been a whirlwind. she is just starting to smile. she smiles heartily at picture frames and the blinds. not so much at us but soon i'm sure. i am already enjoying her more now that i am not frantically trying to get her to sleep or figuring out how to do what i need do to do while holding her.

LS had a tiny pink spot on her head when she was born. i asked the pediatrician in the hospital, "that's not going to turn out to be a hemangioma is it?" we both shook it off as me being jaded and paranoid. turns out i was right. that tiny pink spot has grown into a bright red, angry looking mass that is approaching the size of a dime, right on the top of her forehead, just into her hairline. it's growing pretty quickly and is likely to keep growing for six months to a year. after that it will ikely start to involute or go back in. by age 3 or 5 it may be nearly gone.

its a mass of blood vessels basically i guess. i lose some sleep over how big it is going to get. its a drag to wonder what people think when they see it. kids always ask, adults almost never do, even my friends.

on the one had, i am so grateful that she is here, perfectly healthy and beautiful. i know that we are so very lucky. period.

on the other hand, i am bummed to be dealing with this. i try to refocus my attention on the rest of her adorable self that i just want to inhale and be amazed at. perhaps its a good lesson for me to not focus on the negative, the one thing that isnt quite right. (she also has an umbilical hernia that is huge and her protruding belly button looks like the top of the shaft of a penis. seriously. it will apparently heal itself as the small hole in her ab muscles close up; she may end up with a serious outie belly button. there is very very very little chance of complications from this situation).

our peditrician said to leave the hemangioma on her head alone, it will take care of itself in two, three years or so. i am having trouble staying resolved to do that. a person (trainee, resident? at a specialist's office said to leave it alone; we only talked on the phone. i have an appt there in two months where they will probably say the same thing unless it takes a turn for the worse.

i am struggling with the hemangioma situation. big picture, it doesnt matter. little picture, its a drag. dealing with people's reactions or lack of reaction that they must be having inside. what gets me the most is wondering how big it will get. i am guessing about the size of a quarter and big and blood-blistery looking. i worry about it at night sometimes and the next morning when i see her, it almost always looks smaller than it seemed in the middle of the night. her hair might cover it up a little unless it gets so tall that it sticks out from the hair. then again my elder daughter still hasnt had her bangs cut and she is three. she has been basically bald until recently.

not sure what else to say here. she is gorgeous and sweet and i am crazy about her. time for bed. i wonder if anyone is still reading.

oh and just so you know, people who emailed for her name. i only responded to the people i "know" because i thought what is the point of keeping a confidential blog if i email her name to complete strangers. it doesnt really make sense and what difference does it make if you know her name but the why did i keep all of our names confidential. anyway i am sorry that i didnt respond to the lurkers who emailed for her name. i appreciated the interest and i felt like somewhat of a tool about it.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Where have all the widgets gone?

I had a few minutes to do a little housecleaning so I took down my tickers and widgets. (No danger of me doing any real housecleaning.) My blog looks so.... black without them. It's bittersweet to be done growing a baby. I'll never, ever do it again. I feel a little sad about that. But it feels GREAT to box up my maternity clothes! Can't wait to drop those off at the secondhand store.

Still here

I’m here. I won’t stop writing. Where else would I do all my complaining? Why, to my husband of course. Poor guy.

I’ve got lots of things to say and no time to say them. I remember the ol’ “okay I have a sleeping baby, do I have one minute to work with or three hours, what should I do first?” Things are different this time around because when I achieve that sleeping baby state I am likely to walk out of the sleeping baby room and run smack into a little boy that needs me to find the sword that his playmobil guy dropped when his sister bumped into him in the driveway. Okayyy, that doesn’t seem important to me, wouldn’t have made my list of the top 500 things I’d like to do with one minute or three hours.

Suddenly I am #4 on the list of people whose needs need to be met. Poor rocket man. He comes in last and he’s got all FOUR of us on his list before him. But he does get to get into his car everyday and drive the hell away from us for many, many hours. Thank god or otherwise he might try to leave all of us in the wilderness. Or he might pull a cartoon-action move where he flees the house, leaving a rocket man shaped hole in the door.

The baby is doing great. I marvel over her very existence constantly. I can hardly believe that she is here. Her brother and sister LOVE her. She is just starting to notice us. I imagine that she is thinking something like, "Okay, you people again, I get it." She is still sleeping most of the time, double-swaddled, looking like a tiny sarcophagus.

MOST IMPORTANT THING TO LEARN ABOUT NEWBORNS, BEFORE YOU LEAVE THE HOSPITAL: a good swaddle, scratch that. An EXCELLENT swaddle. If your swaddle sucks, despite your best efforts, then get the Kiddopotamus. It’s a little fleecy, Velcro contraption that goes over the blanket swaddle. All three of our kids have really dug the swaddle. And the swaddled combined with the little foam positioners that keep them from rolling over? Even better. And put the baby’s head up against the bumper or whatver. I have a burp rag making a bumper in my moses basket. She loves it.

Ooh my new favorite thing I have discovered: wearing a bra in the shower so my nipples, which feel like hamburger meat by the way, are protected from the piercing-feeling of the water. Otherwise I have to cover them with my hands which is both difficult and impractical. A tank bra works great. It is a little disorienting though and I often feel like there is a good chance that I have forgotten to take off my underwear.

I bought a tube top (the belly tube) at mimi maternity and wondered why the hell I spent my money on that? I thought I might use it to girdle my belly a little but I am using it in the shower for a bra and, even better, at night so I just have to pull it down to access a boob and the rest of the night it collects the milk that leaks out.

What else? I’m giving the baby, when I remember, lactobacillus to help her digestion and avoid the dreaded “3-5 a.m. grunting, squeaking, longest attempt to crap in recorded history.” I don’t know if it helps. Three a.m. was also a bad time for my other two. More on that later when i can complete a thought.

One of my kids has just returned from his last outing with my dad, who leaves TOMORROW AFTER SLAVING AWAY ON MY BEHALF FOR THE LAST SIX MONTHS. The other has just gotten up from her nap and is about to tell me that she is hungry. Gotta run.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Where to go from here?

So… what do I do now? I will be faithfully reading your blogs, waiting for each of you in turn to have your long-awaited happy endings. I will also be reading about the new babies and how things are going in life-after-the-big-day.

I am trying to decide what to write about here. Maybe… how it feels weird to have finally had the long-awaited baby. This journey to live baby has been such a huge part of my life. What do I do now? Where will I place all of my free-floating anxiety?

Should I write about the birth in detail? As incredible as LS’s arrival was, I’ve been lamenting the parts that didn’t go well, like being in tremendous pain for days and not being able to get a handle on it despite everything I’ve learned about questioning medical professionals and advocating for myself. I’m tempted to give advice to those of you whose births are yet to come.

I also wonder if any of you feel guilty that you were disappointed in your birth even though the baby is beautifully perfect and healthy. Do I just need something to complain about or am I afraid that was my last chance to be taken care of as a new mom and I blew it by not being pro-active enough?

Does everybody have birth disappointment to deal with? I don’t remember having much with Thing 1 and Thing 2. I didn’t want to leave the hospital they took SUCH good care of me.

Is somebody going to tell me to fuck off because I am complaining again ALREADY? I hope not because I am a little emotional already.

I could write a bit about being bummed that RM’s time at home is over. After our stay in the hospital and one short week at home, which he had to use vacation days for, RM is back to work tomorrow. I will have help for a few more weeks, thank God, but his leave time has ended. I was hoping that we, the five of us, would have some relaxing and even idyllic (what a fool I am), moments reveling in our new family member. Dumb.

I KNOW very well that I have a problem with high expectations and the nearly inevitable disappointment that follows. I tried to be realistic about RM’s leave time. For the most part it was hectic and frustrating and stressful. There was always something that needed to be done and rarely time to just hang out. The free moments that we did have were at let’s see… a pool party where RM juggled two non-swimmers, one who was constantly bitching about the splashing and the other who needed to jump into the pool at least 50 times with zero ability to keep herself afloat. I was busy with LS who has snapped out of her constant slumber in favor of constant nursing interspersed with fussing. Then Thing 1 fell on the stairs and scraped himself up, producing an EPOCH hysterical fit that lasted 20 minutes. He didn’t care at all that all of his tball buddies, were watching from the pool where there were swimming independently. I am so glad that he wasn’t ashamed of his fit or his non-swimming at nearly age six but still. He wears a big, spiderman suit/flotation device.

It was a pretty stressful party, partly because I was so stressed at what a shitty time RM was having. Between the two of us, we don’t handle much without one of us getting worked up. We need to get a collective grip in order to survive having three kids, especially if we ever want to have a decent time. It might help to remember that they wont be little forever and what a special time this is. It would help more to hire a part-time nanny.

I could write about breastfeeding and the importance of a good latches. HUGE! But a blog about parenting and breastfeeding and other such things? I’d have to change the title and probably the black background. Would anybody read that? I have learned a thing or two about being a parent but still.

I could finish the story of LC’s birth and the next deadbabydisaster but is that what I want to focus on? Probably not.

I could write about how I wish I could be more grateful and focus on the myriad good things in my life instead of the disappointing things. That’s not to say that I am not thrilled that our baby arrived safely. I am awe-struck by her and Things 1 and 2 are loving her and basically everything is going well.

It’s just that I have always been a glass-half-empty person. Actually it’s more like why-didn’t-somebody-help-me-fill-the-glass. No that’s too whiny. It’s more like the-glass-is-half-empty-and-I-am-taking-it-personally. I’m probably not making sense. What’s the situation with your “glasses”?

Hmm. I am tired of being disappointed by people in my life. On the outside I am tough and irreverent and outspoken. On the inside, really deep down, I am fragile and I take everything personally and I let the things that are missing or lacking overshadow the many gifts I have been given. It’s time for me to grow the hell up but I don’t know how to do it. It takes something like the fulfillment of my heart’s desire (LS’s arrival) and finding that I am still the same person who dwells on the negative to make me see, once again, how much I need to learn about grace.

It’s not enough to read about the struggles of others; that produces only temporary gratitude. How does one really become a grateful person who sees and feels the positive in life? Is there a book? A mantra? A tattoo? A… church??!! An upbringing? Is it too late for me? Electroshock therapy?

I want to set a good example for my kids. I want to bring my husband up instead of down. I want my obituary to say really nice things about me that are completely true. I want to find grace or for it to find me.

I hope this post isn't met with a big, fat silence.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Here she is!

Here is my sweet girl! LS has been sleeping her tiny butt off. She pretty much sleeps all the time with short breaks for nursing and having a look around. I wonder what will happen when I go off the pain meds. Yikes. I am kind of, a little bit getting used to this. I do my thing and she sleeps in her Moses basket. Neither one of my other kids was this easy at one week of age.

One week. LS is one week old today. I really want to post her name. Her name is so beautiful. Email me at livebabyhopes@gmail.com if you really want to know her name.

Today is the first day that I am not in quite a lot of pain. Until today I've been on 2 percoset/every 6 hours around the clock. I hate the idea that she is getting some of that in my breastmilk but up until now I haven't felt like I've had a choice. Seems like it is time to suck it up a little, not that I am going to let myself suffer. No worries there. I am reminded of my friend Victoria's line, "Get off the cross woman, somebody needs the wood." Somebody needs the wood and I need to be relatively pain-free.

I'm still in full-on baby bliss here. She is so incredible. I marvel, when I get the chance, at every face she makes. I marvel at how, when her arms and hands go waving around, she looks like a tiny wizard casting a spell. Her butt is so small; it's pretty bony and red and saggy with extra skin that will soon be grown into. A butt only a mother could love.

She's incredible. My left boob is killing me. I'm hungry for some SOFT, gooey, possibly bacteria-or-whatever-the-hell-laden CHEESE!!

Monday, June 04, 2007

At last, some quality time with my computer

I have just turned on my computer for the first time since the baby's birth. I apologize for the lack of an update. There was no internet access at the hospital and I needed RM's help constantly since I couldn't do anything besides nurse the baby.

The baby (LS-I feel weird about posting her name since I haven’t posted my other two kids’ names) is perfectly perfect in every way! She is teeny tiny and so beautiful. We brought her home from the hospital on Saturday afternoon and were welcomed with signs, balloons, streamers, and a crew of family and neighbors. I've waited so very long for the day when we would bring a baby to this home. It was everything i hoped it would be and more. Leaving the hospital with her in the backseat was quite a moment!

For her first two days at home, little LS decided she wouldn't nap unless she was being held. So RM and I were holding her constantly. We were a little scared of the newfound bad habit and I had flashbacks from three months of carrying my older daughter in a sling all day. Thanks to the advice of a friend, she is now sleeping in her Moses basket and freeing us up to take showers and check email. Whew. She is sleeping great at night! It's way too early to make the call but so far she has been quite mellow.

My kids are overjoyed with their baby sister. We were taking bets on when they would want her to be returned to the hospital. My almost-five year old son surprised us by being the first to request that we return her. She was only home for two hours when he announced that he no longer wanted a baby sister!! I think we've recovered from that and my daughter shows zero signs of waning enthusiasm. One of my favorite moments was, at the hospital, my daughter was admiring LS she said, "Can I live with her?"

RM is keeping busy taking care of all four of us. My recovery has been alot more painful than I expected so I am not much help. I have abandoned the couch in favor of RM's new chair; much more comfortable for nursing and a welcome change of scenery.

My dad has gone on a well-deserved vacation with my mom and will return in 2 weeks. They'll stay for a week and then return to life as they knew it before we launched Operation Get Baby Here Safely.

The birth was as wonderful as a C-section can be. I got to listen to my "Delivery Mix" on the ipod which kept me in a happy place as the surgery got underway and while I got stitched up. (My doctor was able to remove the cerclage so I won't have to go back for another epidural and surgery to remove it- thank God!!) The C-section is a pretty weird way to go; pretty clinical and scary. Fortunately I had RM and Charlotte holding my hand and it wasn't long before I heard that beautiful cry that I'd been waiting for. Then I joined in with a huge snotty cry of my own. The baby's cry sounded like a cat's. She was loud enough to reassure me but not so loud that i wondered if we'd have another holy terror on our hands. She was put on my chest after a few minutes and I got to admire her close-up as she pretty much went back to sleep! Amazing!

Our five days in the hospital were harder than I had expected. I've been in alot more pain than after previous C-sections; I have heard that this might happen with subsequent surgeries. Months of bedrest are probably contributing to my discomfort There were several missteps with my pain medication which didn't help my case at all. That part was a bummer but having a beautiful, sleeping baby to marvel at made it all better. At least we got a nice, big room and plenty of quiet time in between visits from our kids! We also had long-awaited meals of the best sushi ever, lox bagels, and champagne and caviar!! Yum!

It still seems a little surreal. LS sleeps so much, for now, that I need to go and look at her every now and then. When she actually wakes up, I marvel over her very existence all over again. She is so tiny but so much a little person. She looks around, looks at me for a few seconds, her little arms go waving around. She is just incredible. It’s even more fun to have her brother and sister sharing the incredibleness. They’re all, “Look, she touched my arm” or “Look, she yawned!” It’s a whole different experience with two of them. Not that it isnt challenging to have to reign them in as they try to wake her up, touch her eyes, elbow me in the boob as I am nursing her, etc. I will definitely be cherishing my time alone with her.

There is so much more to say but I’d figure I’d get this up for now. I’ll put up a picture in the next day or so.