Sunday, December 30, 2012

Should Old Acquaintance Be Forgot

Here at the end of 2012...
  • Christmas was a hit. Except for Santa being declared "scary," the presents he brought were welcomed and the rest of the holiday has been devoured by Jackson. He loves the snow, rearranging the tree ornaments (how many can you fit on one branch? there appears to be no upper limit), driving around to see the Christmas lights ("I want to see an elephant!" and dammit if I didn't find one, lucky me). It's cool to see his reaction to all of it now that he's so much more aware and interested in participating.
  • Matthew is giving me a 4-hour stretch of sleep followed by 3-hour blocks every night. I'll take it. He is still difficult to put to bed on time (between 7-8pm in our house), and usually doesn't go down until closer to 10pm. It's a work in progress. But he goes down quickly and easily after night nursing, so I'm back to bed within 20 minutes, usually. I'll take that, too.
  • Jackson has flipped a switch in his head and is now massively interested in the potty. In the past 2 days he has, voluntarily and by his own unsolicited suggestion, peed and pooped in the potty. It's quite a thing to high-five your toddler for dropping a deer pellet in the plastic chair. He was so proud of himself. He asked to try on his Yoda underpants and then aborted that effort halfway through the dressing process -- "too tight!" He'll have to get used to how they feel, I guess; the next learning exercise. We celebrated with ice cream (okay, fruit smoothie but what does he know). His teachers at school will be thrilled. (Don't they have the worst task at hand in the toddler room this time of year? Ten toddlers all in various stages of potty training to move up to the primary room in the fall. Better them than me.)
  • Life is starting to resemble the best of having kids (baby is sleeping! baby smiles! toddler is pooping! everyone gets along!) and some of the best of not having kids (sex! glass of wine! watching tv at night! going to movies!). It's sinking in that we are done having babies, done trying to have babies, done thinking about trying to have babies. It changes everything. As I lose the baby/IVF weight this time, it is for good. No more visits to the RE clinic in my life. Back on birth control for the first time since 2008 (I don't want to find out the hard way that "maybe if you just relax" has any merit). The biggest baby-related drama we have now is telling Jackson, "Don't squish the baby" and, "We don't poke eyes." It's exactly the right kind of drama. It's good. It's the end of something and the beginning of something better.
  • The drama of my extended family, I am choosing to try and ignore as best I can. It's hard. My sister visited and spent as little time with my kids as could be gotten away with. She feigned illness to get attention. She left unceremoniously. That wraps up our relationship right now and for the foreseeable future. Neutral at best. And KB's family, most of them, are actually helping out except his mom, who hasn't been to our house one time since Matthew was born. She's seen him on holidays only. She's just too busy. Unless we're willing to pack up a carload of baby stuff and haul our family over to her house on her schedule. Oh well. She goes to Florida soon for the winter and it will be a nonissue for another 6 months. Perfect.
  • And for 2013...I go back to work part-time, maybe keep the baby home while I do, plan a couple of family vacations (travel, hotel/rental house sleeping...oy), keep working on blocking out the background noise of my extended family and focusing on my chosen family. I hope for that for you, too. If this year has been good to you, then please have more of the same. If not, then hold out for better. Cheers.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Merry Christmas, Baby

6 Weeks Later

I just had my 6-week postpartum checkup with my OB. All clear to fornicate. Yippee! Hope my busted vag is in the mood. Cause my exhausted brain....and the sleeping baby radar....

My OB asked first and foremost how the baby is doing; if he's healed, if he has any long-term issues in his prognosis. He is fine. All healed. No chronic problems currently or expected. Then my OB told me he lost sleep over this delivery, that it was one of the hardest (he used the word "scary" a few times) he's had in 20 years of practicing. Huh. Did not expect to hear that. This final reminder of the big event made me think about some of the worst moments again, brought back some things I had forgotten about or failed to notice at the time. I had forgotten about the nurse asking whether she should call for blood to transfuse me. I forgot about how many people I saw hovering around the foot of the bed waiting to see Matthew emerge, waiting to ensure he WOULD emerge. I'm so glad today was the last tangible reminder of this delivery. I'm content now to let the bad parts fade into momnesiac obscurity and just focus on that moment when he was handed to me, crying that little billy-goat cry, and let my brain pretend not much happened before that. (I still have the 1-year follow-up with orthopedics, but I presume the trauma of this shizz will be a distant memory by then.)

I also left with a prescription for progesterone-only birth control pills today. Not taking chances and not ready to schedule the vasectomy just yet. My OB cautioned me that if we have another baby, I will need to have a C-section because all of the complications I had in the pregnancy and delivery are highly likely to reoccur and way too dangerous to risk. I told him there's no need to lose any more sleep over us. We're done. I'm good with the two healthy babies I have and no need to hoard more.


Thursday, December 13, 2012

Have to Admit It's Getting Better, All the Time

Oh, ho -- not the sleeping. We're still up every 2 hours like clockwork all night. But Matthew is going to bed a little earlier (Jackson goes down by 7:30 and we're putting Matthew to bed by around 8-9 or whenever the closest feeding to that time is done). Which means we have some grown-up time not spent juggling a baby in one arm and eating late dinner or dessert one-handed with the other. We used our grown-up time last night to watch part of the 12-12-12 concert (I finished watching the fifth hour of it today). (I can summarize thusly: The Boss, yes. Bon Jovi, no. Roger Waters and Eddie Vedder, yes and yes. The Who, please die so we can miss you already and also put a shirt on Daltry because your waxed orange chest is fucking gross. The Stones, yes [side note: is Mick's hair real? We love playing a good game of "real, plugs, or piece" and he is an enigma; same question for Jon Bon Jovi...]. Kanye, is Hefty paying you to wear their garbage bags as clothes? because you've worn Hefty-bag inspired clothing too many times now for it to be a coincidence. Billy Joel, yes [and the tip jar!]. Chris Martin, dapper [love or hate Coldplay, that chap is fucking charming] and also thank you for giving Michael Stipe something to do on a Wednesday night. Macca, always yes. And Nirvana reunion, well I only saw 2 minutes of it because that's where TiVo cut off the recording. KB and I also kvetched a great deal about how all the quality seats up front near the stage were obviously comps from corporations, as everyone in those seats is clearly in their peak earning years and wearing polo shirts. Shame.) So our family evening routines are shaping up and causing less stress. The morning is still tough, trying to nurse one and help KB get the other fed and clothed and ripped away from his toys (I WANT MY GUITAR! he yelled as we dragged him to his room to put on pants), not to mention finishing the school lunch packing and ensuring all school items make it out the door and trying to avoid the need for bribe treats to get the toddler into his carseat (I WANT FRUIT BUNNIES! he yelled as we nudged him into the car and buckled him in). It's coming together. It feels like KB and I are gritting our teeth a little less, and snarling at each other a little less, too. Parenting both a newborn and a toddler is like learning a new job in a foreign language and there is no training (or pay) (or time off).

I am figuring out for myself how to parent two children a little better. Jackson is letting me reintroduce myself into his routine (I got some painful "No, Mommy, I want Daddy!" pushback for a while). Jackson is also being pretty patient about Matthew needing hands-on attention and approaches him across a spectrum from adoration to indifference; but there's no animosity (yet). I'm trying to invent Jackson-centric activities he and I can do together over the holidays, like decorating felt ornaments with stickers and cutting out sugar cookies, without having to completely switch with KB to cover Matthew duty (we're both trying to find ways to manage both kids so the other can have a's not easy when the newborn needs to nurse and the toddler is Krazy). Pretty soon (after Christmas) I will need to develop a routine for dropping Jackson off at school that includes schlepping Matthew with us, in the Michigan winter, and across a busy parking lot in the mornings. And then some time in February I need to start thinking about picking up freelance work again (maybe just one or two projects to start) and will have to decide whether to keep Matthew home with a part-time nanny (up to 2.5 days per week of coverage, but on specific days which can be a challenge when clients can call/email or try to schedule meetings whenever) or send him to the Montessori school. For the latter, I can send him part-time (say, MWF) and that would be on par with the cost of the nanny. I could also send him full-time, but I don't see a need for that with me only working part-time and him being a relatively easy baby (so far). But to send him to school, I also would have to pump to keep him breastfed. As long as he's at home with a nanny, I can take a break to nurse him every couple/few hours. BUT...I also admit it would be nice to have the peace and quiet of working in an empty house sometimes. I'll have to see what wins the day on balance. They both seem like perfectly fine options.

There I go, getting ahead of myself. For now and the coming weeks/months, I am doing my best around the lack of sleep to enjoy this squishy little baby and my moppet of a toddler.


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

What To Say

So many things.
  • Matthew had his second (and next-to-last) orthopedic follow-up yesterday. His bone is healing and though it's "curved" (the fracture was displaced slightly) it will remodel and straighten out over the coming months, without causing him any problems and unnoticed by the casual observer (you can feel the knobby callous on the fracture site and the curve of the bone if you palpate it carefully). His next (and final) follow-up will be at one year, to do one last x-ray and confirm the bone is healed and straightened out. He's already good as new; he moves his left arm as much and with the same range of motion as his right. Babies are a miracle.
  • He's not colicky but he does get pretty fussy in the evenings. The poor thing has been gassy and has an every-other-day pooping schedule that makes him uncomfortable until the shitstorm arrives. And oh, how. He likes being in the Moby wrap, so at least I have that in my arsenal. And he loves nursing. (Wish my nipples didn't mind it so much.) 
  • He's nursing like a champ. We still use the occasional (pretty rare now) bottle of formula, mostly at night when I've already been nursing him for freaking hours on end and he still won't sleep. KB steps in with the bottle and lets me go to back to bed. It's a decent trade-off for all involved. I think the formula has been exacerbating his gassiness, so less of that is better. But my nipples, lordy are they sore from all the nursing. And the occasional gummy chomp when he's a little too enthusiastic about his milk from this mama cow. Ow. But also, good that it's happening (the nursing). But also, ow. I'm holding off on pumping until my nipples are less chomped-upon-feeling and/or we decide to send him to the Montessori school (and I still don't know when I will do that, since we have a part-time nanny now whom I love and can stay with us through the spring and maybe the summer; but Jackson has done so well in school that I want Matthew to have that experience, too, so we'll see).
  • Sleep. Who is getting any? Jackson and the dog. Matthew naps well during the day for hours at a time, waking up to nurse about every 3 hours or so, but in the late evening is wide awake and not at all interested in sleeping. So I nurse and nurse and nurse him and he just stays awake. And then is up every 1-2 hours (we get the occasional 3-hour stretch a few times a week). I hope it turns around soon. It's frustrating.
  • My sister's visit over Thanksgiving was just meh. She's still not trying very hard to find a job and remains insistent that she "deserves" to hold out for her dream job. I wish she could understand that most of us are doing something short of a dream job, because we have other adult responsibilities that require income and benefits as a priority, and/or that most dream jobs turn out to have downsides like any other. They are better as fantasies, usually. And not worth draining every penny of scant savings and cashing out a meager 401K and living off of benefit-free unemployment indefinitely. But alas. She also played a good game of Top That! even when she asked about my labor. I barely got out the words, "Well, it was kind of rough..." before she started in with stories about her friend so-and-so and HER labor and her other friend so-and-so and HER labor. She didn't even hear the story at all (other than me interrupting her to say it culminated in Matthew having a broken arm, so she would know to be careful with him) until some friends stopped by and asked me about it and then listened(!) to the story. As KB said, perhaps this was an example to my sister of how a conversation is shared between two people, that it is not a soliloquy for one. She actually did pay for her hotel stay but complained about it (even though I prepaid, she let them charge her card which was required for incidentals and is now claiming that Marriott requires in-person presentation of a card and will not permit pre-payment, which of course is bullshit; she's constantly and habitually lying about stupid things like this just to argue) -- I am calling to move the charges to my card and will pay for her stay in a couple of weeks. I'm still pissed that she could afford THREE vacations and twice-weekly bar crawls and concerts with friends since losing her job, but apparently can't afford an inexpensive hotel stay for family, but it's not worth the hassle of never hearing the end of it. And I am *thisclose* to telling her how tired I am of her Top That! routine, the constant lying/exaggerating about everything (if we disagree, or present reality as an alternative when she's ridiculously off-base, she argues, pouts, and throws a hissy fit; it's a delight). Her upcoming stay is just a few days and they're filled with plans to see the city light displays, Christmas dinner at my sister-in-law's house, and playing with new toys. So she can either get on board and enjoy or sit around and be a lazy lump, it's no matter to me. She's headed back down a bad road and I will not follow. I've dealt with over 20 years of this up and down cycle and I'm Seacrest, out. I've reached my limit for bullshit tolerance.
  • Left field: I'm contemplating whether I want to keep this blog going or not. I'm not sure there's anything left for me to say about infertility, being pregnant, giving birth, or whatever. There's plenty to say today and every day going forward about parenting a toddler and a newborn, but I don't know if writing about it is useful or worthwhile. So, thinking.