September 09, 2009

Guilt and Doubt: The Twin Party Poopers of Motherhood

Note (Sept. 10):  I do feel some amount of guilt about these things, but don't worry, I sleep just fine at night.  This is more about me venting about the way new mothers are made to feel even more doubtful and more guilty by all of the well-meant advice and books we subject ourselves to.

What is it about guilt and motherhood?  You try to leave the hospital all happy and guilt-free when, "Excuse me, ma'am?  I believe you forgot your guilt.  Here, we packed some extra for you."  I cried all the way home from the hospital because I couldn't believe they let us leave with her.  I mean, I forget things.  I drop things! 
Couldn't they tell how unprepared I was?!?

It's been almost three months now, and she seems to be surviving.  The guilt and doubt, however, are also growing.
  • I thought we were doing well trying to prevent a flat spot on her head, then I realized last night that her skull was getting crooked because she favors one side to sleep on.  I got her a sleep positioner to try to squish it back the other way before it gets too noticable.  Meanwhile I'm staring obsessively at her face to make sure that's not getting crooked, too.  Seriously, do we really need this grossly exaggerated illustration?  Is anyone going to let their baby's head get that misshapen?
  • I felt terrible for leaving her in her crib crying after she barfed all over me including down in my bra to the point that a shower was the only option for clean up.  So I showered really quickly and rocked her an extra long time to put her to sleep.  Then I drank a glass of wine.  Okay, two glasses.
  • She's been constipated and spitting up more than usual.  Is she allergic to soy, too?  Am I mixing the formula wrong?  Am I overfeeding?  Does she have some weird, terrible disease and I haven't taken her to the doctor yet?  Ack!!!
  • She likes her pacifier, but using it to keep her quiet means I'm slacking on comforting her in other ways.  Well, sometimes all that will comfort her is sucking on a hunk of rubber (but only the Soothie pacifier from the hospital).  We'll certainly get rid of it before she's talking, but for now it's a part of our lives.
  • I wussed out on breastfeeding, and now she apparently won't reach her full mental potential.  I suppose it probably would have gotten better, but I was dreading feeding my child.  I was crying almost as hard as she was because I couldn't stand the pain.  Now my wimpiness is going to ruin her life forever.  Well, maybe only most of it.  I did manage to give her mostly breast milk for the first 11 days or so.
  • Worst of all, I have to go back to work next week and she has to go to daycare.  I don't really want to go back and work, but I do miss interacting with other adult humans.  It will be a glorious day when I can have a conversation with someone besides Doug, Penny, my Mom or the dogs and babies aren't the main topic.  Of course that means I will have to regain the capability to think clearly about something besides babies.
Mommy and the Seven Dwarves
  • Guilty
  • Doubtful
  • Cranky
  • Exhausted
  • Dirty
  • Barfy
  • Poopy
Maybe there can be a Prince Charming-proof glass box and Mommy can just stay asleep?  Of course, that assumes there is a Prince Charming...

September 08, 2009

Penelope is 2 Months Old!

 This has been a busy month!  Lots has been happening and Penelope is making lots of progress.  It seemed like right at the end of the second month/beginning of the third she decided to catch up on all of her milestones, and several of them were on the same day!  Even though a couple of these pictures were actually just inside the thrd month, they are going here lest I forget them.

She is smiling, making sounds (besides crying that is), following objects with her eyes, holding things.  Here we were celebrating her turning her head to the sound of my voice.

Here she is holding on to Piggy.  By the way, that bouncy seat was the best $22.50 ever spent.

Bathtime is fun now.  She does spend most of it staring at herself in the mirror, but she seems to enjoy the whole process most of the time.

She loves to be sitting up, and she loves standing up even more!  We'll all have strong arms by the time she can stand on her own.
She's been able to bear weight on her legs since she was about 4 weeks old, but now she can hold her head up much better.  It's so funny to see such a tiny person standing up.  We do have to hold her steady, but we don't have to hold her up.
Watching TV with Daddy.
 Earlier in the month, Penny and I went home with Grammy and Grandad Robert to visit Grammy's friends.  Calvin wasn't too sure about Penny, but after several days he decided it was OK to share Grandad's lap with her.
Then we went to Grandma Strahler's house where Penny didn't sleep very well.  This is how we spent most of the morning so I could get a little sleep.

I will admit that I am finding motherhood to be much more enjoyable now that she interacts with us.  It was hard to spend your entire day taking care of someone that didn't seem to know you existed unless you weren't feeding them or holding them.  I see now what all the hard work of the first 6 weeks or so is for.

September 04, 2009

Screamy Mimi: The Darker Side of Parenthood

WARNING:  This post contains images that may affect the soft-hearted (or soft-stomached).  No babies were harmed in the creation of this post.

It has become painfully obvious that I have not been blessed with a patient child.  Everyone knows that crying and babies go together like peanut butter and jelly, but what I didn't realize until I actually had a baby is that you have to somehow find the humor in the crying or it will eat away at your soul.  It occurred to me that we were always taking pictures when she was being cute or funny and that I should document the total experience.  When I took these pictures, she was already crying for a bottle and it only took a second to snap the shots while waiting for the bubbles in the formula to settle.  I didn't just let her cry so I could take some stupid pictures.

This is a full out, eardrum-shattering wail. She prefers to do this directly in your ear if possible.

This is the follow-up to the full volume mode.  The sound is like, "hooooo-hooooooo-hooooooo."  So together you have "waaaaaaaaaaaa-hooooo-hooooo-aaaaaaaaa *cough *cough."

This is my favorite crying face.  The classic squinched-eye bottom lip thrust.  This one doesn't always have sound, but usually like "hmmmmmmmm-hmmmmmmmm."  You know, how it sounds if you hum when you're angry.
This is a gross one.  We had just changed to soy formula due to a milk allergy and we were off to a rocky start.  Doug snapped this one because it was just too dang literal!

Honestly though, she really is a great baby.  She's pretty easy to please, as long as you do it fast!

September 03, 2009

Giving Birth Part I: But, but, but......

I'm not packed.  I have a baby shower on Saturday.  I'm not ready!!!

Yes, yes.  I know you're never really ready. This is the story of how Penny came to be with us two weeks and six days before we expected her.

This is me on June 18th, with no clue that PJ Day was only a week away.

At the end of the eighth month and beginning of the ninth, my blood pressure started rising and my feet were huge.  Actually, judging by my appearance a few days after giving birth, I think most of my body was swollen except my face which was supposed to be the giveaway for preeclampsia.  I had to monitor my blood pressure and I was at the doctor three times the week before Penny was born.  I got put on bed rest on June 19th and I had to do a 24 hour urine sample over the weekend.  We had a non-stress test, and got great results.

I went back again on the 22nd to deliver my pee and have a bio-physical profile.  This also yielded great results for Penny's well-being except that the level of amniotic fluid was a bit low.  I was told to come back on the 25th to check the fluid levels again (why does this sound like I'm a car?)  Meanwhile, I was rather enjoying my bed rest.  I got to rest on the couch and put my feet up just about all day.  I was working for 4 hours a day which was great because I had a ton of paperwork to catch up on.  I was making decent progress when it was time to go back to the OB.  I left the house after lunch and told Doug I would be back in and hour or two.  Turned out I had mild preeclampsia which explains the high BP, and the amniotic fluid level was even lower.  Penny was still fine at this point, but the doctor was concerned about waiting until Monday.  He asked if I have a bag packed and told me to go straight over to Rex to induce labor.  No passing go, no collecting $200.  Penny wasn't in danger, I just needed to get checked in.  Then he stripped the membrane and sent me on my way.  For those who have never been induced, membrane stripping HURTS!  Kind of like a pretty decent contraction.  Maybe if you're dilated more than one and three-quarters centimeters it wouldn't be so bad.  It's funny how even though you know the whole experience is going to be painful and pretty much unpleasant you glaze some things over in your mind and convince yourself they won't be as bad.  Cervix checks were like that.  I thought the doctor could just kind of feel the opening and know the amount of dilation.  Apparantly they jam their finger into the opening to measure.  Not pleasant.  Again, maybe if you're more than one and three-quarters centimeters dilated.

Needless to say, this was not how I envisioned giving birth.  It was scary, but I actually wanted to just go into labor unexpectedly.  Make the, "Honey, it's time," phone call and all that.  I guess I still sort of made that call, but as Doug loves to remind me it was more like, "I have to go over to the hospital NOW!  I'll call you back in a minute."  I had to call my Mom, OK?  Dad had to leave work and they had to pack, etc., etc.  I did call him back, when I stopped crying after a mini breakdown.  I think the quote to Mom was, "I'm scared s***less!"

While I wasn't actually in labor, I did technically drive myself to the hospital.  I sat in my car in the parking deck for a few minutes so I could talk Doug through packing my bag since I hardly had anything ready.  Apparently when I left him hanging to call Mom, he packed his bag of electronics.  Why are we not surprised!

I think I made it inside the hospital and into the prenatal triage area around 3:30 pm.  Time got really weird in the hospital, as in it seemed to go by really fast.  Dr. Beatty (the only woman in my OB)  was on duty at the time.  I was the proud recipient of a Foley bulb while still in the triage area, because apparently late June was busy for giving birth and I had to wait for a labor and delivery room.  More education, the Foley bulb is when they put a catheter tube in the opening of your cervix and inject some saline to manually dilate your cervix to about 4 centimeters.  Then they tape the catheter to your leg and you hang out with it until your cervix reaches 4 centimeters and the blasted thing falls out.  It's gross and uncomfortable and it took way longer than expected.  The doctor said maybe a couple of hours; more like 7.  Here I am when the fun was just starting.  That stupid plastic blood pressure cuff will be mentioned again.

I think it was about 6 pm when I got into a labor and delivery room.  The Pitocin was started shortly after that.  This is where I will leave off for part one.  I have more interesting things to post first!