so, if I was bad at blogging before, I am really
bad at blogging now. i guess having a baby will do that to a person. i'll be honest, before i embarked on parenthood, i was super judgy about how much time my friends with kids truly had. when they said they were "really" busy, i always took it personally. i mean, come on, how hard can it be to take care of an 8 pound human? well, i'll tell you. it's shockingly hard sometimes. it is the best, most amazing, most earth-shatteringly awesome thing that I've ever done. but it's not easy
. and, with what little "free" time i find myself with, i generally prefer to spend it staring adoringly at my son (sappy, but true) or sleeping (god, i miss sleep). note: showering should start to become a priority again soon...
anyway, going back to where we left off...
the last part of my pregnancy was pretty awesome. my job is flexible and i was able to work at home for the last 3 weeks, which was a HUGE blessing because it meant that my swollen feet and i could avoid the metro and camp out on the couch. it was also really nice because
we moved to a new house a month before baby was due. DH's dad came out to help (thank goodness!) and the transition, all things considered, went pretty well. we finally got all of our things out of storage (hallelujah!) and have enough room that the volume of baby gear in our house isn't utterly overwhelming. my mom is also staying with us and the house can easily accommodate her - since it has a whole mother-in-law suite in the basement. it's a definite square footage step up from our tiny one bedroom. however, should you ever have the choice, i do NOT recommend moving when you can no longer see your feet and when peeing yourself is an actual possibility if you move too quickly. just saying.
once we were in the house, the nesting bug definitely hit and i had a lot of fun (in between periodic hormone-induced meltdowns) putting together baby's nursery. i think it turned out really cute.
i also was fortunate enough to have three
baby showers. people from home state sent presents. even a friend from elementary school sent something. the support was amazing. which is good, because rumor has it, it takes a village...
so after the partying and the worrying and the nesting...
labor was the most painful and the most rewarding thing i have ever done. we hired a doula early on because i really wanted to attempt the natural childbirth thing. and, even if i caved and got an epidural, i wanted someone there (other than DH) to tell me that i could do it. throughout our childbirth classes it became clear that i was going to take out every ounce of stress on DH, so i figured if i could pay an "expert" to help share that stress with us on the big day, it'd be money well spent. we found her through DONA
. after meeting with a few different people, we felt as though our doula's French accent and calm disposition was the best match for us.
3 days after my due date, i went to the OB to get checked (again) and was told (again) that i hadn't made much progress and would need to schedule an induction. this royally freaked me out because i had watched the business of being born
, which is a documentary about how screwed up the birthing process in America is. while i consider it a "must watch" for pregnant women, it messes with you. a lot. so anyway, i had a meltdown about having to take Pitocin. and called and told the doula that i was going to lose it. then i went home and freaked out. fell asleep. and then i woke up and my water broke.
within about 15 minutes of my water breaking, contractions were about 3 minutes apart. having never gone into labor before, i wasn't sure what the best course of action was. we called the doula and she said to call her back in an hour. after all, this was a first baby. first babies take their time. so i tried every
position i could think of to alleviate the toe curling pain. and it didn't work. by the time the doula came to the house, she insisted we head to the hospital. i climbed into the car with DH and began trying to systematically break his hand with each contraction. once we got there, i had the pleasure of experiencing a VERY painful contraction in front of a group of teenage boys. i consider it a gift to society, really. nothing motivates safe sex quite like witnessing that.
once we got upstairs to the right ward, the
intake nurse wanted us to fill out paperwork. i couldn't concentrate and refused. DH, thankfully, took care of it. but it took them a long time to believe that i was in transition labor and needed a room. thank god the doula had connections or i might have delivered in the waiting room. because, once they had me lie down, i was 9.5 cm and ready to push. say what?!
i'd like to say that i was zen about the whole thing and visualizing the baby and practicing hypnobirthing techniques while humming enya. but it wasn't really like that. it was more like trying to offer a kidney in exchange for drugs and being told, on no uncertain terms, that it was "way too late" and that I'd have to just deliver naturally. in fact, the process was so fast that the board for our names never got updated - and i delivered my son in bill and anne's room. less than 30 minutes of pushing. followed by A LOT of stitching. (note: if you find yourself having a cannon-like delivery, do NOT google the various degrees of tearing. it will just freak you out more. those vaginal mesh commercials really
scare me now.) on the bright side, my mom got to the hospital in time and everyone assures me that, largely due to the record fast birth, i did not poop myself on the table. small victories.
it seems dumb in hindsight, but i wasn't sure how i'd react when i saw my baby the first time. i had been watching a lot
of "A Baby Story" (alternating with "Teen Mom") and couldn't decide how DH and i would process the whole thing. pregnancy hormones were even crazier than they are now so i cried at everything. i even cried when the "I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant" women delivered. (OMG, what a miracle!!!) but you know what? it is
like that. it was so awesome that DH even ventured down to the business end to witness it all (shocking because he is normally pretty queasy around blood). i asked him about it later and he said it was the most amazing thing he's ever seen. part of me regrets not taping it. but the other part of me rationalizes that my son probably wouldn't be jazzed about that. (i vividly
remember watching the 1970s version of "The Miracle of Life" video in middle school. yowza. the coupling of a drug-free delivery with an all natural nether region meant that most of the class was crying by the time the miracle arrived.)
but i loved him. right away. unconditionally. i loved how tiny he felt lying against my chest. i loved that he squeezed my finger almost instantly. i still tear up thinking about it. i've never been more grateful for anything in my life.
the following days, however, are a little less mushy. i was basically handed a bag of medical supplies and left to my own devices. i remember sitting in my hospital bed, afraid to sneeze and split myself in half, watching my sleeping husband and crying baby while internally panicking that i might have to use the restroom (a process that, postpartum, requires at least 20 minutes of cleansing/soaking/praying). i can't decide if i find it hilarious or terrifying how little they tell you about the recovery process. at 3 weeks postpartum, i was wearing depends and googling "incontinence," and began to wonder if I'd ever be me again. i also started to have an all-too-clear view of what it looks like when you haven't done much personal grooming for months. turns out you're not as great as you think you are at shaving at 9 months pregnant. but now, at 10 weeks post partum, i am realizing i have a new "normal."
breastfeeding is going well. that's a blessing. after the razor-like feel of his bite subsided, we appear to have gotten the hang of things. i have yet to find a nursing bra that is built for a woman of substance, but ce la vie. in the span of a month, i went from wearing my "hooter hider" and using 10 pillows every time i nursed to (literally) pulling up my shirt and holding him on my lap without flinching. rest assured that every shred of modesty will go out the window the first time you attempt traveling somewhere with your infant. i promise. we drove to philadelphia to visit family and, by the 10th time we'd stopped to feed lil man, i was willing to get naked in the parking lot if it would have soothed him. this is particularly interesting because we were in super
dangerous parts of town. (it's harder to pay attention to iphone directions when you're listening to a screaming child.) the trip did have some major good points though. baby got to meet his cousin (4 months his senior!) and we got to explore the Philadelphia Museum of Art
life is getting easier now. i'm getting 4 consecutive hours of sleep every now and then (yeah! never thought i'd say that like it was a good
thing) and my lil guy is a social smiler (nothing can possibly be wrong with the world when a baby smiles at you. seriously).
but, unfortunately, i now get to worry about going back to work. and I've started having all the internal conversations that i swore I'd never have. should i go back to work? am i going to miss everything? am i going to cry through my job for the rest of my life?
i joined a mommy and me group (a sentence that used to make cringe) and some of the women are going to quit their jobs and stay home. i used to mock such things. but now, i'm a wee bit jealous. financially, we could swing it if i stayed home. but i just finished law school. i still have a mound of law school debt. and, the tree hugger in me still wants to search for a job that can help to better preserve my son's future. that was the point of all of this, after all. so, i'll be headed back to government agency and am going to focus on what an incredible gift it is that my schedule is ridiculously flexible. and that i only have to go into the office 3 days a week. and i'll try to keep the mommy guilt at bay.
things are certainly different. but in the most incredible way.