January 27, 2008

Piper's Favorite Thing




As you can pretty much see from these crappy stills grabbed from a video, I put her in a full bath and let her float on her back. My hand is just there to keep her from turning her head side to side too much and getting a face full of water. She floats up to the tub wall and kicks off gliding backwards like you might do in the pool. She'll do this over and over again, laughing herself silly. It's basically a horizontal version of those jumpy seats you hang in a doorway, but when she really gets going her arms start working and she looks like she's practicing her backstroke.

My favorite thing to do in the bath: lean back and feel my back fat create a suction against the back of the tub. Ewwwwwww. As such I've decided to join My Reality in her weight loss challenge and have added it to my sidebar. Not that I'm doing much to make a dent in it. Maybe I should be working on my backstroke.

Two notes: The bath water is not green, it's a reflection of the lime green paint on the walls. And close observers may notice her belly button looks a little weird. It's an umbilical hernia. If you press lightly on it you can feel (and hear) the intestines and juices squishing around. Freaky.

January 14, 2008

For Baby


A friend asked me the other day if I was still being ridiculously pragmatic about this whole baby thing, now that she's actually here. Once you leave the hospital, there is the reality of constant daily care, so the denial of pregnancy is no longer an option. There is no mistaking that you did indeed produce an infant. Sometimes I say to myself: "She is your daughter. You are her mother" and it's becoming more natural as time goes on. Which makes sense, because it took a while for "You are infertile" to sink in too.

During pregnancy I remember reading other bloggers' posts about how they already loved their baby in utero so incredibly deeply and thinking I definitely did not relate. On day two or three of her life, I remember my husband holding her up and saying to her "I just love you so much!" I was touched by seeing this in him, but I remember thinking to myself "Hmm, I do not feel like I'm in love with this strange little alien. I wonder when it will hit me." At this point I'm clearly very much in love with the whole thing. I love the baby, I love at least a million little things about her, and I love being her mommy. I tell her I love her several times a day and kiss her as often as possible.

Generally I still bury away any big gushes of emotion. But the passing of time and all that it means is the one thing that really gets to me. I remember early on, my mom was holding Piper asking her "Who will you be?" and pondering aloud about the person she would become. "Don't you wonder?" she asked me. I said that no, I never thought about it. It will all be here soon enough. I just want to enjoy who she is now. In that moment, I choked back almost a year's worth of denied emotions, from the hope I should have carried into the cycle, to the joy I should have had at the positive beta, to the excitement I should have relished for nine months, and insisted on stoicism. To think about the life that lies ahead of her unfolding, of how we will grow closer as she grows away from me, is way too much for me.

I celebrate the little milestones, but do not wish for them to get here. I stare at her and think of how wonderful she is and try to soak it all in. Sometimes I wish I could just freeze us in a perfect moment, cuddled together. But babies have a very smart design, the next new thing is always wonderful enough that it makes the passing of time okay. She is now in the big smiley stage, which distracts me from the speed at which her life is flying by.

So with all this emotion I have related to the passing of time, it's no surprise the thing that finally opened the floodgates for me was coming across the lyrics of a lullaby my mom used to sing to me. It took me right back to who we were then, and the enormity of everything in between, and the knowledge that I will blink my eyes and Piper will be singing lullabies to her daughter (or where ever it is she goes in life). It doesn't hurt that it's also an incredible description of motherly love:

For Baby (For Bobbie)
John Denver


I'll walk in the rain by your side,
I'll cling to the warmth your hand.
I'll do anything to help you understand,
I love you more than anybody can.

And the wind will whisper your name to me.
Little birds will sing along in time.
Leaves will bow down when you walk by,
And morning bells will chime.

I'll be there when you're feelin' down,
To kiss away the tears if you cry
I'll share with you all the happiness I've found;
A reflection of the love in your eyes.

And I'll sing you the songs of the rainbow;
A whisper of the joy that is mine.
And leaves will bow down when you walk by,
And morning bells will chime.

I'll walk in the rain by your side.
I'll cling to the warmth your tiny hand.
I'll do anything to help understand.
I love you more than anybody can.

And the wind will whisper your name to me.
Little birds will sing along in time.
Leaves will bow down when you walk by:
And morning bells will chime.

January 8, 2008

Recovery

This post is seriously belated so no doubt I've forgotten some of it now, but since I started it six weeks ago I decided I might as well finish it.

Pregnancy Brain
My theory is that the incredible dumbing-down during pregnancy may be an important evolutionary adaptation, allowing pregnant women to become accustomed to their reduced mental capacity and make necessary adjustments BEFORE they have a tiny infant in their care. Forgetting where I was driving whenever I approached critical intersections and completely blanking on what I was saying (and to whom) in the middle of sentences was gud practices four my currrnt condishen. Afterall, losing my cart in target with my wallet and keys in it was far less distressing than losing it with the baby strapped in would be, and I'm thankful to have learned that lesson before her arrival. But a high degree of skepticism is warranted in evaluating any brilliant new theories of mine these days.

The Fickle Scale
I'm definitely still in maternity clothes and probably will be for a while. They don't look nearly as cute without the nice high bump. The low sagging flab is just not the same. It's basically like being back to the fat or pregnant? stage of early pregnancy, except fatter. I gained 35 pounds during pregnancy and lost 10 pounds at delivery (this is low since she was just under 5 pounds). I dropped another 5 pounds in the first two weeks, but decided not to worry much about losing weight until after the holidays. After those first two weeks I stalled out completely, until the few weeks before Christmas when I actually started to GAIN a few pounds! Sooooo not fair, I thought the pounds were supposed to disappear when breast feeding!

The Crimson Tide
In further unfairness, that wretched bitch who serves virtually no purpose in my life but whom I've nonetheless had to tolerate on a near-monthly basis for over twenty years now is paying me a visit. I thought I'd at least get a couple months reprieve while breast feeding, but this visit is actually her SECOND appearance since delivery, two months ago. She showed up like clockwork 4 and a half weeks after delivery. Apparently she is not up on her new-baby etiquette, and really, I shouldn't have expected any better based on our past history.

The Other Crimson Tide
The first few days were very weird. In the fog of the epidural, lack of sleep, sheer exhaustion after delivery, and tiny new person consuming my attention, I really wasn't aware of much physical pain. No doubt it helps that I delivered such a tiny baby. Another thing that made it easier for me is probably that I was prepared. I knew from my sister's experience to expect the bloodbath my first trip to the bathroom. It wasn't painful but it did look like a sizable battle had been fought there. The worst moment was when I found myself on my hands and knees, with baby in one arm, trying to clean blood and pee (I didn't realize the floodgates had opened before I was ready) off the bathroom floor at 3am. Not that clock time means anything in a hospital. If you find yourself in this situation RING FOR YOUR NURSE to take care of it. Marie-Baguette perfectly described the alarming post-delivery blood clots with one word: steaks (that link by the way takes you to a fantastic account of what induction is like, no gory detail spared). For me the bleeding continued for about two and a half weeks. I have a friend who dealt with it for eight.

Weirdness "Down There"
That bizarre pregnancy symptom I'll always think of as Watson's hanging beef jerky did in fact return to it's normal spot in the deli drawer within a week or two.

While we're in the processed meats department (and while I'm busily mooching off Watson instead of coming up with original thoughts), you might remember her discussion of the bologna nipples. I didn't exactly have that symptom, but that weird darkening did fade in the first week or so also.

For a good six or weeks or more after delivery, it sortta felt like I could feel the catheter again at times. Pee still seems to gush out at a higher volume than it used to, but maybe I'm imagining that? I didn't have much trouble with leaks, but there have been a few sneeze-related incidents, pretty much the same as during late pregnancy.

I had only a tiny tear and required just a few stitches. It never really hurt and seemed to heal quickly, but when I wipe it seems like that skin is a little thicker, like scar tissue. The whole area is just.....different.

Speaking of tears, I had a huge problem with this unfortunate symptom. It seems to finally have resolved itself, but it was extremely uncomfortable for at least seven weeks to the point that I would cry out in pain and be unable to sit after, you know, going. It was by far the most difficult painful thing I dealt with (during labor, as well as in the aftermath).

January 3, 2008

Two Months

Got more to say than time to say it, but here are a few notes:

-At the two month checkup today, Piper weighed in at 9 pounds, 15 ounces. This brings her from the 3rd percentile for weight (4 pounds 12 oz at birth) to the 60th!

-Thank GAWD because breast feeding is NOT easy, so at least this makes it feel rewarding (she would no doubt have grown just as well on formula, but at least I don't have to worry that she's not getting enough).

-Giving shots to a two-month old is absolutely HORRIBLE. I can tell they still hurt and my heart breaks for her, but on the upside she's sleeping a LOT today.

-A few weeks after we brought her home, we got a letter in the mail from our insurance provider informing us they have changed our benefits and will now be covering IVF. Hahaha...aha..ha...ahem. I have decided to overlook the fact that their idea of a good joke would have been a lot funnier thirty thousand dollars ago, and instead feel relieved about coverage for number two, whenever we get there.

-I'm back to work as of today. We'll have to see how it goes easing back in, but I work from home so I'm lucky not to have to leave her all day. Presumably I'll be spending more time in front of my computer, which of course means keeping up better with the blogosphere. Aren't you so excited?! Hello? Anyone there??

Hope everyone had a great holiday and LOADS of good wishes for the New Year!!