Friday, July 30, 2010

"Mama just needs to pee before you start freaking out..." And other things you thought you'd never say.

It is morning. The sun is shining gently through the sheer curtains, lighting the face of my angelic little one. The birds are singing her a beautiful wake-up song. And I have to pee and eat something before she wakes up.

Realization #10 - A pacifier is a lot like a snooze button

I abruptly pause in the middle of brushing my teeth and look up, like a meerkat, and cock my head to listen more intently for the first stirrings of a hungry baby. Toothbrush balanced on my molars and t-shirt only halfway on, I creep slowly up to the bassinet to see just how awake she is. Her perfect little eyes begin to flutter open and I seize my chance to pop the pacifier in her mouth, effectively buying myself about four and half minutes. And the best part? I can do this more than once! This morning, I managed to brush my teeth, get dressed, wash my face, make the bed, make a bottle, eat a bowl of cereal, check my email, take my meds and have a glass of water before she finally got tired of the pacifier.

The concept of the pacifier as snooze button gets still better: it can buy Mama a couple more minutes of sleep as well. Sometimes, little Carrie will jerk in her sleep and wake herself up (usually because my sweet thing manages to smack herself in the face when she jerks...we're going to start working on kinesthetic awareness...) and get fussy. I mean, you would wake up, too. If I have a pacifier handy when that happens, and she'll take it, she'll just go right back to sleep without me having to get her up and rock her back to sleep. You have to be kind of quick on the draw for that one, though.

In conclusion...I don't have a conclusion, cause I'm currently being overwhelmed by my urge to snuggle with Carrie. Duty calls!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

It's Like Being a Teenager Again (except with stitches in your ladybits...)

Stop. Telling. Me. What. To. Do.

That should be my mantra right now.

Realization#8: No matter how well-intentioned the advice, nobody knows your baby like you do.

It's really hard to be tactful when my mom says "she doesn't like when the infant seat vibrates." How the hell would you know? I put her in that shit, flip the switch and she passes out. She's only crying now because you pressured me to put her in the seat instead of holding her AND SHE WANTS TO BE HELD. Which is another fun one: "you can't hold her all the time, just put her down." You know what? No. I want to hold her, I like holding her and she likes to be held. It's important for us to bond physically. So shut up and let me parent my child. Kthnxbai.

In conclusion, I don't recommend being rude to people who say stupid shit about what your baby likes and dislikes after spending five minutes with them. However, it's kosher like Hebrew National to be honest with these folks and say "Actually, she loves that! She just wants to be held right now, but she'll calm down in a minute." (And then rant on your blog about how obnoxious people are...)

Never Throw Away Old T-Shirts (and other helpful advice for would-be moms)

Realization #6: Wearing clean clothes is a luxury.

Caroline is 17 days old. I have washed 10 loads of her laundry since we came home from the hospital. I have done two loads of my own laundry. I have never before viewed my pack-rat ways with such thankfulness in my heart. If I weren't a pack-rat, I wouldn't have the umpteen t-shirts sitting in my dresser, making washing my clothes virtually unnecessary. Because, really, it's ok to wear jeans more than once before you wash them. However, between spit-up, baby pee, and my boobs leaking, I'm going through t-shirts like Kanye goes through sunglasses. Which leads us to...

Realization #7: The definition of "clean clothes" can be tweaked to make you feel better about your ability to care for yourself.

I'm not saying that I doubt my ability to care for myself, but I do sometimes doubt my ability to balance caring for myself and caring for my newborn. And I'm pretty sure my greasy hair and rioting pores would agree with that. Sometimes my definition of "clean clothes" is simply "a fresh shirt and socks." Sometimes it's more like "changing from one pair of pajamas into another." Sometimes it's "I'm pretty sure I washed these before I put them on...wait, how long have I been wearing this?" And that's ok. Because, at the end of the day, unless someone nearby can smell the eau de breastmilk and stinky diaper all over me like white on rice, it's all good. Nobody expects you to be a fashionista with a new baby. Besides, wearing pajamas for days on end at home makes getting dressed to go somewhere that much more exciting.

Monday, July 26, 2010

New Mom Realizations, or, How to Make Milk if You're Starving to Death:

I mean, for real. Realization #3: Whatever food you have time to eat is the most delicious thing you've ever tasted. Suffice it to say that I ate a lot of granola bars instead of meals during our first weeks at home. When I was lucky enough to have a hot meal prepared for me, I had Realization #5: If the food is hot, the baby is fussy. It's some part of Murphy's Law, I'm sure of it.

So, under these two conditions, how does my body produce my baby's food?? Which leads me to a new Realization now: the crazy shit your body does while preggo is almost nothing compared to what will happen after the baby comes. Trust me on this. Between making milk, your milk letting down, your boobs leaking milk (usually right after you've showered or put on fresh clothes), the stitches you undoubtedly got for the episiotomy/tearing...your body is a veritable war zone. Your body VS. sleep, that's what we'll call it. How could it be anything else? You've spent 9 months building up a huge store of hormones, only to dump all of them out of your bloodstream in two weeks. Can we just have a moment to process that?? It's no wonder new moms get the "baby blues" (which is a really stupid name, but that's another post)!

And, another Realization: just when you hit your stride in a blog post, the baby wakes up. Time to make a bottle and change a nappy for mo chuisle.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Realizations #1 and #2

On the occasion of our first outing together, I learned two important things:

#1 - Just because I can fit back into my pre-baby pants doesn't mean they look good. There's no shame in wearing maternity pants for a little while longer. Better yet - yoga pants! They always fit!

#2 - I should have added some cute hats to my baby registry. Because, baby or no baby, nobody deserves to see my hair looking like this.

New Mom Realizations - Inauguration

I went into labor at the movies. No, seriously. My best friend and I had agreed to see a film that shall not be named, and we were actually concerned that the baby would come too early and we'd miss our date. As it was, I went into labor while we waited in line to buy tickets.

Not that I knew it was labor, per se. I'd already been sent home from the hospital once, and I didn't feel like Team Caroline needed another false labor episode. So, I just figured I was having strong practice contractions and chalked it up to dehydration. Oh, what fools we mortals be.

It didn't occur to me that something was amiss until after the movie, when the contractions were so strong that I could barely eat. If you knew me, and my deep love for the Mexican restaurant we were patronizing, you would know this to be a red flag. And, as I sipped my water and pondered the state of my full plate and empty stomach, I realized that my water may have broken that morning and I would have had no idea. This is when things got interesting.

Long story short, I was sent home from the hospital again that night after an ultrasound and some IV fluids, still only 1cm dilated. The contractions didn't stop, though, and I spent a very restless night attempting to doze off between them as they grew stronger. More of the same the next day and night. Until, finally, we went back to the hospital 30 hours after being discharged to find that I was 5cm dilated and in active labor.

Two epidurals, three popsicles and a short nap later, Caroline Miranda came into the world. And here we are, having a great adventure and learning along the way.