Thursday, July 31, 2014

Life Lately

Luke and I were talking about how we don't remember much of anything from C's first weeks* so here's a memorandum of record of what we've been up to...

*I do have some recollection -- bathed in the glow of the TV watching House of Cards in the middle of the night; feeling like Our Lady Parts of the Perpetual Agony; Luke going to NYC to master his record, leaving the two of us alone, during which time I watched the Tom Hardy BBC Wuthering Heights and turned it into Blubbering Heights, just bawling at 2 am [“If all else perished, and he remained, I should still continue to be; and if all else remained, and he were annihilated, the universe would turn to a mighty stranger.”  - cue sobbing].

Though showering and getting dressed everyday remain low priorities, I am really enjoying this time. Josie is a dream baby. She slept seven hours last night, unlike her sister, whose difficult night (teething) I heard about in the morning (Luke: didn't you hear her crying? And then I was up, rocking her, three times? --- No.) Here is Josie being four weeks old. Check out her dimple!

Our first just-the-four-of-us family outing was to Oaks Crossing, a restaurant at a fancy new grocery store in the burbs. I had barbecue ribs and a champagne margarita and because of the latter have been wondering daily, when can we go back? (postscript for very important product: I don't remember where this placemat came from - a gift? - but it's fantastic).

C is not going to daycare until October - in order to provide some socialization, get-the-wiggles-out activity time, and parent respite, Luke has been taking her to our gym in the morning. They have 1) a great childcare area and staff and 2) a cafĂ© with Wi-Fi so he can work (or work out). Then lunch, a nap, and, refreshed and recharged, she spends the rest of the day ricocheting around the house until dinner and bath. She loves bathtime and upon being let into the bathroom proceeds to throw all of her toys one by one into the tub. My mom taught her to rub lotion between her palms and pat it on her face (which she does with zeal, like a man slapping on aftershave). I love these little rituals that are developing.

Here she is saying a word she picked up almost instantly, cracker. It's since become even more guttural, ker-ker, with a hacking noise.

C has been very sweet with Josie, always trying to pet and kiss her. (Confession: sometimes I use Josie as bait to draw Clementine away from whatever destructive or dangerous thing she's about to do with "Want to hold Josie? Come hold Josie, Clementine!") C also brings me the boppy pillow unbidden when I settle in to feed the baby (and blankets and Brown Bear and used Kleenexes).
A visit from the Tormentor in Chief. She's learned she is able to push the pack and play around the room.

I've gone down the Breaking Bad rabbit hole - now in season 4 - but it's the perfect pastime while nursing/pumping. I feel like I'm catching up on my cultural touchstones. (What should I watch next? True Detective? Already watched Fargo). Have you been watching the High Road? Gabrielle Hamilton was the first episode guest and I had to Google her. She's a writer-chef with an acclaimed memoir, a memoir now sitting on the kitchen island despite the last time I finished a book was in 2013 2012.
Speaking of things de la leche, I've already had to dip into my squirrel milk stores, such a disappointment as I've spent all of my time (ask Luke, I've been useless around here) nursing and pumping to convince my body I have 1.5 babies but it seems to think milk* for 0.75 baby is sufficient. Darn you, pituitary gland!
*"It's weird that you make milk. Cool... but weird." - husband. Agreed.
That's it from around here! Hope all is well with you, friends.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Desperately Seeking Snoozin'

Just some tidbits from life around here lately:

On the Clementine front:
  • She learned to say 'no' and how to open doors on same day.
  • Surreptitiously approaches breast pump and turns up suction dial, resulting in a situation not unlike the Princess Bride life machine:

  • When I ask her for a hug, she pauses then runs over to hug Luke. Hugs me upon Luke's instruction to 'hug mommy'. Hash tag daddy's girl hash tag next ten years hash tag not surprised.

What we know about Josie so far:

  • Appears to dislike the swaddle
  • Likes to sleep all day and stay awake from 2 am to 7 am
  • Is not fussy
  • Has a dimple on her left cheek
On the mama front: all of my complaints (congestion, a barking cough that began just before the baby was born and is just now resolving) are non-obstetrical in origin, which is fantastic! Feeling well is making it so much easier to go without sleep.

Dad front: Having Luke at home has been a godsend as I have no idea how I'd manage a newborn (whenever I want to do something I have to think 1) has she eaten recently? 2) have I pumped recently? and if the answer to either is no whatever I was about to do gets pushed back 30 minutes or 4 days) and a toddler gifted at putting herself in perilous situations in our living room. A great big This American Wife shout-out to the Greatest American Husband And Father Ever.

Being at home and immobile for 15 to 30 minutes stretches has meant some time to catch up on shows, podcasts. etc. Been listening to a lot of NPR and I just found a medical podcast Sawbones that I'm excited to listen to. Was devouring early parenthood-focused Longest Shortest Time but then it got too NPR-y and I felt like David Mamet (shut-the-fuck-UP!) and was reminded of Christopher Hitchens' indictment of women and humor:

Is there anything so utterly lacking in humor as a mother discussing her new child? She is unboreable on the subject. Even the mothers of other fledglings have to drive their fingernails into their palms and wiggle their toes, just to prevent themselves from fainting dead away at the sheer tedium of it.
Shows I've been enjoying: Fargo (want to elevate your television experience? Have a baby, deliver a jolt to your hormonal milieu, get three hours of sleep per 24 hours, and THEN watch a gory bone-chilling tragicomedy.) I alternated this with Top Chef Masters to restore equilibrium. Hulu's The High Road with Mario Batali is really wonderful -  Batali talking teddy bear pancakes with Anthony Bourdain is priceless.
For once I'm caught up on the New Yorker and have been reading Edward St. Aubyn's Never Mind four pages at a time. But I'm really enjoying those four pages!


This post has been brought to you by lanolin nipple cream and the 3 am Google searches 'cluster feeding when does it stop' ; 'birth control right for me' ; 'airline tickets two adults SAT to Montreal'.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The Ballad of Josephine Louise

Here it is, the birth story!

[fast forward past some prenatal care drama which I may grouse about here sometime because I think there are some pearls of wisdom to be gleaned, and everything turned out just fine]

I woke up at 4:45 a.m. on Tuesday* thinking

"I'm feeling... a feeling."

Either my water broke or I had become a little incontinent, both good reasons to drive myself to the hospital. (With Clementine I had contractions at home for 24 hours and had an epidural when an amniotomy was performed, so I was unfamiliar with the sensation). By the time I sloshed into L&D, I was pretty sure I was going to leave with a baby very soon. After Doris came over to watch C (huge thanks!), Luke joined me at the hospital. As I was only have light, intermittent contractions, I opted for a Pitocin drip to get things moving.

*little aside: it was July 1st so several very-first-day interns came to see me. LOOK BUT DON'T TOUCH, NEWBIE.

And, about 4 hours later, an epidural. Things were progressing nicely aside from increasingly painful contractions (with C I had no pain whatsoever, and if these contractions were the blunted version of the full blown thing, YES PLEASE EPIDURAL ALWAYS EPIDURAL.) Around 5 pm the OB wanted to place an internal monitor and upon checking my cervix, said, nope, we're not going to do that because you are going to deliver this baby RIGHT NOW.  [People putting on gowns, peds nurse coming to room, etc].

I pushed through 3 contractions for a total of about 10 times and 7 lb 2 oz Josephine 'Josie' was here! This was similar to C's delivery and it's nice to know that given the following conditions:

1) Heavy analgesia
2) Smallish infants

I can really squeeze out some babies.

Black hair!

We stayed in the hospital until Thursday afternoon. The epidural took a long time to wear off my left leg - hours and hours longer than the right. Other than the continued nuisance of a Foley catheter and being unable to reposition myself easily in a wildly uncomfortable hospital bed this was no big deal. I eventually changed into some pajamas that I brought (oh, that reminds me - guess what I forgot to pack in the hospital bag? Any clothes at all for the baby. Or a blanket. Or any baby supplies at all) because I was flapping around in the hospital gown with boob holes in the front, looking like a crazy person. Also every other phrase out of everyone's mouth was SKIN TO SKIN, SKIN TO SKIN, SKIN TO SKIN! so there I am skin to skinning as modestly as possible until I just gave up (on the modesty, not the skin to skin). I can really see why people go a little nuts during hospitalizations - it's disorienting even for a completely healthy person.
Given the hospital bag fiasco (big fail there, Julie, my labor coach said) it's not surprising that we only have phone pics of the little lady. 
I have the analogous pic with Luke and C - so sweet

Netting to soften the blows of any big sister launched projectiles
Cluster feeding is real and YES there is an app for that.

Josie has given me glimpses of a very doable sleep pattern (up only once, at 3 am! Then back down until 7) only to dash those hopes by staying up all night. We have been very spoiled by Clementine, who's been a rock solid sleeper since 8 weeks (she actually sleeps like a baby, what a laughable simile that is) and sleeps now from 7 pm to 7 or 8 am almost without fail. So this up all night business is a blow to my system, a system that runs smoothly on 7 to 8 hours of sleep and starts sputtering when it dips below 5.

This is the imprint of her ear on my arm, plus a freckle

she has the same Darwin's tubercle as C and Luke!

My mom stayed with us for about a week and departed last week, leaving us with a man-on-man childcare defense (I know, I think it's weird when I use sports metaphors too). Before she left we managed to sneak away for a date night at Fleming's, my request, because childbirth makes me meat-hungry.

I am THRILLED to report that breastfeeding is going swimmingly. With Clementine it was the worst, most painful, most agonizing experience of my life, the emotions of dread/fear/resentment attached to her feeding obviously detracting from the fun of having a newborn. I am able to relax and enjoy this time so much more because I'm not in tears or grimacing/wincing/shouting expletives or wondering a la David at the Dentist, is this going to be forever?!! I've been able to pump and freeze milk for my return to work (1 month away!), which I referred to as 'squirreling milk away' and now Luke calls the baggies in the freezer my 'squirrel milk' - disgusting.

In addition, I was very sore and had a lot of residual pain after C's birth and was popping Motrin q8 hours for weeks. Now I am taking Motrin occasionally for the soreness and cramping in my neck, shoulders, and back from poor nursing posture and cuddling the snugglebear when I should be sleeping. The second time around, for whatever reason - experience, a baby who is a better feeder, knowledge that I will sleep again, someday - is so, so, so much better.

So that's how it went down! Sorry to dash this off, I would love to have a thoughtful essay to remember such an important event by but if that going to happen...

Monday, July 14, 2014

Clementine at 17 Months

The past 4 to 6 weeks have been really fun - C's expressive language is taking off. She is finally saying mama and dada consistently, recognizes several animals and animal sounds (dog is 'daw' followed by 'ruffruffruff'), and can request her favorite food - cheese. She calls the sippy cup a-wa (as in, a-WA! a-WA! a-WA!) which may be her attempt at water, or it's agua (her daycare is bilingual). She is very sweet and interested in the baby (baba) though some hitting/slapping has emerged when she's frustrated (luckily Josie has not been a target...yet).

Most exciting is her interest in books. Her favorites are Brown Bear, Brown Bear (brah bah), MOO, and Where's Spot? (spa? SPA! SPA!)

Fun with a-WA! She will take a big gulp and then say AHHHHHHHH. It's hilarious.

Hugging Josie.

Backyard playtime.

Reading Where's Spot? with Grandma. The snake in the closet gets an SSSSSSSSSSSS sound.


She sees balls and circles everywhere, and, indeed, the world is full of balls ('baw') to the keen observer. Especially the World Cup.