Sunday, November 28, 2010

"Enjoy Your Baby"

That's what the pediatrician says at the end of every visit. It's what the nurse said when we left the hospital nine (!) weeks ago. It's what my OB said at my six-week postpartum check-up.

I can see how some people might need reminding. It's grueling work, caring for a newborn baby. Sleeping in fits and spurts, being spit-up upon and cleaning up piles of poo, endless shushing and throwing your hands up in despair when he won't sit happily in his swing long enough for you to go to the bathroom, the inconsolable crying. This is all part of the package deal. And my package took several years, dozens of procedures, a million tears, and nearly $25,000 to arrive. But all that matters is that he did arrive.

And that package also includes the way he clings to you when you pick him up, nuzzles into your neck, falls asleep in your arms with a smile on his face, grins at you when you come into his room early in the morning, greedily nom-noms and gazes at you when he nurses. It's a gift every time he laughs at the silly songs Mommy and Daddy sing to him (somehow they all eventually devolve into "Camptown Races," but the subjects vary -- from "Jackson, don'tcha cry no more" to "Jackson is a milk monster, even scarier than Mothra"). His smell, the way he kicks while you change his diaper, when he reaches for your finger with a tiny hand -- gifts.

It's hard work, and every day I wish I had more sleep, more time to do things I want to do; but I am also grateful every day that I was given this opportunity, this enormous responsibility and incredible gift, to change dirty diapers and soothe tears. I don't expect the work to get any easier, but the reward grows every day.

I don't need to be reminded to enjoy my baby. I can't imagine my life any other way now, tough times and all.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Nanny, A Night Out, and Nonna

Our pediatrician said the fussing would get worse before it got better. Uh-huh. We're at the tail-end of a massive growth spurt and the nighttime fussing, crying, raging, and general disdain is at fever-pitch. A few nights, I think Jackson and I have unknowingly held a competition for sob volume. He always wins.

I got a call from the hospital where we delivered last week, from a nurse who serves as a detective on the Depression Squad. When I told her that Jackson only sleeps for about 2-3 hours at a time day or night, and sometimes wants to eat every hour for 2-3 hours (also day or night), she thought that was remarkable. Aren't these the same assholes who drilled the Breastfeeding Only Or Else message into my brain? What did they expect? I told her all was fine and spared her the details of days that are less than fine, lest the Postpartum Police come knocking on my door. Her offering if I need support? Come to meetings. So, pack up a baby who may or may not get fussy and require a million feedings and changes and lug him to the hospital, filthiest of places, and commiserate with other sleep-deprived people. Sure. Maybe not.

My friend-of-a-friend-who's-a-nanny started last week and is every kind of awesome. She's here Mondays and Wednesdays for just a few hours, but I can get SO MUCH done in that time, including pumping more and working out. Hallefuckinglujah. It's a small price to pay for a huge break, and is helping me and the bebe prepare for his transition into daycare.

My sister came to visit this weekend and babysat on Saturday night so we could play grown-up for a couple of hours with some friends. These friends also have kids, including a 3-month-old, so guess what we spent most of the night talking about? It sort of consumes your life, but in a good way. Jackson was a champ for my sister, who is really digging being an auntie. I am so, so happy that she is, and that our relationship is growing stronger, either because of or coincident with Jackson being born. She and I only have each other, since the rest of our family is batshit nuts and totally unreliable. I'm glad Jackson has her, too. The night out wasn't as nerve-wracking as I thought it would be, although I checked my phone every 5 minutes for messages. My sister was kind (and funny) enough to text me every time she gave him a bottle, or he burped, or she changed a diaper to let me know the play-by-play.

And then KB's mom came over Sunday. She and I get along just ducky, but my patience for the persistent assvice is wearing thin. Again, I was told:
  • You can't hold him all the time or he'll come to expect it. Whut?
  • You should let him cry instead of picking him up, so he can learn -- learn whuuuut? that his mother doesn't love him enough to pick him up when he needs it?
  • He is clearly not getting enough milk from breastfeeding if he has to be fed every 2-3 hours, since she only had to give her kids whopping amounts of formula (she thinks he should be taking 6 oz each feeding) and her kids slept for hours and hours and hours, on their stomachs, with piles of blankets, from day one. Thus, one may infer that formula is superior to breastmilk and I am clearly starving my baby and also a terrible mother who deprives her child of peaceful sleep.
  • We shouldn't be using white noise or bedtime music to put him to sleep because he'll rely on it for the rest of his life -- I can envision packing up his Sleep Sheep for college.
She also asked me ninety-seven more times why we can't give him water, and when we can start giving him rice cereal. And she reminded me, after telling me I must not be feeding him enough from the breast, that I shouldn't be afraid to give him formula. *sigh* And then she asked when she can babysit him. Um, when he learns on his own (via whatever method we deem appropriate) to self-soothe and is sleeping on a regular daytime nap and nighttime schedule and is taking solid foods, I'll consider it. Overnights are highly unlikely at this point. I'm not even okay with a brief daytime gig yet, since it's clear that she'll do what she thinks is best from her vague recollection of over 40 years ago, even if it's opposite what I want, because she's convinced I am misguided and she is right. So, no babysitting. Sorry. I feel awful for KB, because he's with me on this but still feels bad that his mom can't get on board to "earn" this privilege we'd love to grant her. He's going to quietly talk to his sister this week to find out how she handled it, as we think there were similar issues with our niece. But until I change my mind (?) she can visit with him while we are home and daycare, the nanny, my sister, and other select babysitters will handle the rest. The end.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Swoon


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

You Down With OCD (Yeah, You Know Me)

I ponied up $4.99 to get the Total Baby app on my iPhone and am now obsessed with it. As in, I must record every baby-related thing that happens on time, every day. Feedings, pees and poos, naps, baths, immunizations, and extras like pumping and taking walks. Well, hello OCD, it's been too long. The last time we met it was a dark, crowded exam room and I was injecting my once-flat(ter) belly with so, so many needles full of baby-making drugs...I swear, it's crossed my mind to record my own, um, accomplishments for posterity given the rarity with which I can take a leisurely shower, eat a meal (or two bites of whatever I grab from the fridge first), or pee or poo without attempting to multi-task beyond human ability to get done before The Boy awakens with The Loneliness or The Hunger. A friend of a friend is a nanny and I'm meeting her Thursday to discuss part-time help a couple of days per week, so I can use my new Y membership and go buy diapers and maybe sneak in a shower and some more boob-pumping time without rushing or having to complete a task with a screaming baby in the background. On the one hand I'm super excited about having a few hours of free time, but on the other hand I kind of feel like I must be an epic Mommy Fail to need the help in the first place. Oh, well. I'm going to err on the side of sanity, I suppose. Jackson is still very much in need of hands-on care all day, and doesn't much like to nap anywhere but in my arms, so I can either remain paralyzed all day -- also slightly ripe from lack of daily hygiene as I once knew it -- or accept help. Happy Mommy, happy baby. So be it.

And there is no shortage of assvice on how to get him to take naps in the crib, bassinet, swing, or any other location that is not me. (Hell, if he would nap in the dog bed, I would be all for it.) My mother-in-law keeps reminding me that if only I could put him on his stomach to sleep, he would nap like a champ, like her kids did. If only. Hint, hint. (Also, if only I could give him water he wouldn't be so thirsty all the time. Cause I'm sure that's what he's rooting for, a nice bottle of crisp, refreshing Evian.) My only defense (as I've run out of patience explaining) is to show the assvice-givers that if you lay him down, half- or fully-asleep, in any bed-type contraption (crib, bassinet, swing, bouncer) during a daytime nap he A) immediately wakes up and B) commences raging. And he's way too young to cry it out -- the pediatrician recommended letting him fuss (not cry, just fuss) for up to 10 minutes before throwing in the towel and picking him up. It works on occasion, but only for about 20 minutes, tops, of napping time. So the assvice-givers have seen this with their assvice-having eyes, yet don't stop giving the assvice. So be it.

Lastly, Daylight Savings Time sucks. I thought it sucked before, but now it double extra sucks. It has thrown off what fledgling schedule we were developing by several hours (why not just 1 hour, I do not know). So suck it, DST, you filthy whore. I hate you and your ilk. *flips double birds*

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

It's the End of OB As We Know It...and I Feel Fine

I had my 6-week postpartum OB visit yesterday and have been officially released from the bonds of obstetrical care. It's back to regular ol' pap-smear-and-breast-exam appointments now. Ho hum.

Our conversation about birth control went like this:
OB: Have you thought about birth control?
Me: Yeah, I'm gonna pass since we have 0% normal sperm.
OB: Well...
Me: Look, it would just save us 2 years and $20,000.
OB: Yeah, your odds are pretty low, anyway.
Me: Uh-huh. So we're cool?
OB: Yep.

So I am now cleared to exercise and get my freak on. I expected KB to jump on me last night, but I suspect that exhaustion just won. I'll have to sleep with one eye open this weekend.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Survivor Guilt

I decided to spend two glorious hours last Saturday having a manicure and pedicure, a gift from a friend (who had the genius to send a spa gift for Mommy; not that I would deprive the baby of anything, but he has enough clothes and toys and stuffed animals to last the rest of his infancy and then some). So off I trotted, leaving KB with a bottle of boob-milk and a babysitting gig, and cruising through the Starbucks drive-through I used to frequent to pick up some Go-Go Juice (aka Mother's Little Helper, Liquid Nap, etc.). Then as I settled into the massage chair to have my feet worshiped for a while, the lovely woman unfortunate enough to have to address my long-overdue pedicure asked me about the gift certificate. "What's the occasion?" "Oh, it's a gift from a friend to me, for having a baby." And then....dun dun dun..."Oh, that's really nice. I have never been able to have children...." Shitshitshit. My pampered foot tasted, I dunno, not so good.

How many times have I been her? How many stories about kids have made me cringe? I quickly told her, almost apologetically, that it took us a long time to get pregnant and that we didn't think we'd be able to at all. That we got lucky. She asked if we used IVF, and I told her we did, multiple times, before we just plain (because I can't emphasize this enough) got lucky. We steered the convo toward more neutral subjects after that, but the awkwardness had already set in. I hope I made her knifing less painful by telling her it wasn't easy. But really, did it ever make me feel much better? Maybe a smidge, but never much. Because in the end, it's a yes or no question -- did you get the baby? Your score isn't affected by degree of difficulty, only by whether or not you stuck the landing.

People, infertility is everywhere. I am sure I will never leave it behind. Even as I ponder (only sometimes, and only for a moment) whether we will ever try to have a second child (the probability is a high "no" for now), when other people ask, or when I see other people's babies...it's there. And it always will be. The end.