Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Aunt Elise Visits!

My sister Elise flew in from Champaign to meet baby, visit, and deliver on an offer to make us a bunch of food.

It was so nice to have some company (Luke has been working on his record - coming out next month, stay tuned!- , and I am used to being surrounded by people all day, so home-with-baby is quite an adjustment), especially getting to spend time with one of my favorite people.  And a person I don't have to get dressed for.  Dream houseguest!
Elise is a new vegetarian and we made some delicious meatless food: vegetable enchiladas, black bean chili (Slow Cooker Revolution), roasted butternut squash soup, and whole wheat buttermilk waffles (ATK Healthy Family Cookbook).  These are all make-agains, especially the chili: spicier than expected, ameliorated with a hearty dollop of sour cream (as are most things).
I'm inspired to re-commit to less meat in our diet. (We watched Forks Over Knives, an uneven but thought provoking documentary about a plant-based diet. And I'm looking forward to perusing Martha Stewart's Meatless when it becomes available at the library.)  She also introduced me to Perfect Formula pink gel coat (which I might have to buy now).

Elise at work:

The fridge has never been so well-stocked.

We culled my wardrobe of ratty t-shirts, capri cargo pants that no one should ever wear, disintegrating bras.

Elise and Clementine:

In other news, Clementine is starting to sleep longer stretches through the night, though not every night.  I'm dealing with unilateral engorgement (not fun), which ranges from uncomfortable to agonizing... for the first time in my life I am truly looking forward to going to the gym but even the thought of any sort of jostling is wince-inducing.  Hopefully this will improve over the next several days.  I wondered why they sent me home from the hospital with 800 mg of ibuprofen with three refills.  Now I know.
What else, what else...
Listened to Josh Ritter's new record today.  Worth a listen.
I keep thinking I'm going to get so much done every day- done as in completing online continuing medical education credits, or quality reading, or whipping up another batch of waffles to freeze before the buttermilk goes bad- and it doesn't happen.  It took me three days to flip through Self magazine, and nine hours elapsed between the second and third sentences of this post.  Luke reminds me my only job right now is to be a mom, which is more than enough.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

My Heart Is So Huge With Love That I Feel Like It Is About To Go Off

Came across a quote from Ann Lamott's Operating Instructions a day or two ago.  This is how I began to feel the instant I recognized my soul's reflection in Luke, and our baby magnifies it.  Pre-baby, the required rumination time from this thought to tears was about 45 seconds, and now it's down to about 10 and it's not tears but keening, howling ululation.  [Hormones?]

PSA to those pregnant or may become pregnant: Get an adjustable bed.  We already talked about ours on a daily basis, about how comfortable it is, how it is the best purchase we've ever made, etc, but once you start spending a large portion of your day contorting yourself to feed a tiny human, it's invaluable.

Another pearl from my 13 days of experience: the Boppy pillow is mission-essential.

From the ambition desk: these lipsticks are awesome (Maybelline Color Whisper in Who Wore It Red-er and Color Sensational in Vivid Rose; Revlon ColorStay Ultimate Suede in Muse), and I bought them in the hopes of being the put-together mom with bright lipstick, wearing these cute dresses (in polka dot, in cherry print) with sensible red shoes and a sun hat. This was, of course, in the days just before Clementine was born.  Now, dialling back, I aspire to be the mom who remembers to shave her armpits.  Armpits is such a gross word.  Underarms?  Also yuck.


Monday, February 11, 2013

Anecdotes & Observations

♦ Luke and Clementine have the same little cartilaginous ear nodule!  Luke accepts this as incontrovertible evidence of paternity.

♦ Even though I gained 30 pounds during pregnancy, postnatal day 11 finds me only 10 pounds from my pre-pregnancy weight.  Holy diuresis, Batman!

♦ Although we have been treated to it only a handful of times (and each around 3 a.m.), Clementine's full-on wail assures me she inherited her father's vital capacity, along with the ear nodule.

♦ From the couch: Netflix's House of Cards is such a great show.  WATCH, Y'ALL.  The writing is excellent and the cinematography is gorgeous.  (Only beefs: the rest of the cast acts circles around Kate Mara; the Hispanic character of Linda Vasquez is played by an Indian actress.  Why??)  I've started listening to Molly Wizenberg's A Homemade Life. 

♦ So glad to be nursing in the age of the smartphone.  Handy for Pinterest-ing, Googling articles about pacifier use, taking a zillion pictures of C while taking care to keep one or both of my giant moon-boobs out of the frame.

Any recommendations for shows, audiobooks, or other hands-free diversion, readers?  I'm planning to watch Breaking Bad and Homeland at some point, and start listening to NPR (my commute pastime).  I miss you, Steve Inskeep!


Sunday, February 10, 2013

A Baby Story



in 39 weeks and 13 pushes.

WEDNESDAY MORNING: OB appt.  2 cm dilated.  Otherwise no activity.  Back to work as usual.

WEDNESDAY EVENING: Impromptu lasagna and salad at Chip and Joy's after work, where Luke has spent the afternoon.  He goes to his gig; I go home.

WEDNESDAY NIGHT: Begin to have sporadic contractions, which I think may be Braxton-Hicks contractions (did not experience much in preceding weeks).  They increase in pressure and I text Luke to please come home early!

THURSDAY MORNING: Luke comes home, with a chocolate milkshake (best labor coach).   Continue to have sporadic contractions between 15 to 45 minutes apart through the night.  I e-mail my section chief that I cannot come to work because I may be in labor.

THURSDAY: Contractions continue irregularly.  Increasingly uncomfortable.  We hang around the house, watch Louis CK Chewed Up, eat my requested lunch of caprese sandwiches and Terra chips.  Still wondering if this could be false labor.  Time contractions with handy app.

THURSDAY NIGHT: Around 8 pm, contractions increase in tempo and severity and end with irresistible urge to pee, akin to the feeling of a urinary tract infection.  STARTING TO REALLY HURT.  The pain is not in the small of my back as I anticipated, but in the large of my front (Luke's words).

THURSDAY NIGHT, LATE: Same as above, but with vomiting.  As I writhe in pain in the grip of a wicked contraction, simultaneously vomiting and peeing on the bathroom floor, I am convinced that this is active labor.

FRIDAY MORNING: Contraction app comes in handy.  With contractions every 5 minutes, we rush to the hospital and make our way to L&D triage at 2:30 am.

The resident checks my cervix and to my relief I am 5 cm dilated and completely effaced.  Throughout my pregnancy I had said I did not want an epidural so as I am being evaluated I moan:


Admission consents are signed, I am moved out of triage, and anesthesia arrives, my savior in scrubs.  He promises to take my pain from an 8/10 to a 5/10.  The epidural is placed and the pain vanishes, aside from a 2 x 2 inch spot in my groin.  I mention it, a bit more drug is pushed, and then I feel nothing.  No contractions, no pressure, nothing. Ahhhhh.  I wiggle my toes.  I feel so glad to be living in an era of modern medical intervention.  We wait.

Soon after I am 8 cm dilated and the OB resident breaks my water.  Less than one hour later, it's 10 cm.  Fetal heart decelerations bring about 20 people in the room in a few seconds.  Upon examination she is turned such that we are spine to spine - the OB discusses with me the need to turn her, the possibility of forceps/vacuum/C-section.  While pushing, they successfully turn her.  I push through three more contractions, and at 6:03 am she is born.  [I am uncertain whether she is out, due to the epidural.]  She cries, is taken to be cleaned, and the team turns its attention to the perineal aftermath (the repair of which takes much longer than the delivery).  I ask to see the placenta and am satisfied that it is big, beefy, and normal.

Luke holds her and then she is given to me.  And here there are no words.

FRIDAY, SATURDAY, SUNDAY: We spent the required 48 hours in the postpartum unit.  The hospital has a skin to skin and rooming-in policy (there is no well baby nursery).  The lactation consultants provided invaluable assistance and support (BREASTFEEDING IS NOT EASY.  The childbirth experience, even as alleviated by the epidural, provided a parade of different pain types from deep, crushing, and visceral (contractions), sharp and stabbing (postoperative), and ending with blinding excruciation in the instance of BF.  Everything has gotten much better, however.)

My mom arrived Friday afternoon and my dad on Monday.  Luke's parents visited us at home from Thursday to Saturday.

As I type this, Clementine dozes at my feet and my heart feels unbearably full with love for my daughter and my husband.

We are absolutely enthralled by her.  The scent of the top of her head, the expressions that flit across her face: we are in love.