In Baby News …

So I haven’t showered in … 3 days? And now would be my chance, except, “Dont’cha understand, ma? I gotta write?!

I’ve got blogging fever right now and I really want to keep it going. And I want to keep taking and ORGANIZING pictures. I’m feeling particularly good today in the few moments when I can squeeze in some writing and such.

Plus, looking out the window – it’s REALLY windy today – so I don’t think we’ll be going on a walk any time soon. And the post-office is closed today… So why do I need to have clean hair?

Moving on …

IN BABY NEWS

Eating with Baby

Eating with Baby 2

As I’m sitting here eating lunch bouncing Sebastian on one knee, holding a bottle in his mouth as he’s too young to do so himself, and eating with the other hand, I’ve realized, “Hey, I’m actually good at this!” Good in a way that I know my husband, and even many of my friends are not. I was holding a baby and his bottle, eating, and reading through my email, responding with one hand at the same time. It happened because I was determined to eat in one sitting while it was hot. After popping up and down several times to stick my face down at eye level where he was lying, and complaining, in his play gym, I scooped him up and grabbed the bottle with barely an ounce of cold expressed milk out of the fridge and ended up here.

And when I realized that there was no way my husband could manage to feed Sebastian a bottle and eat, much less be reading email, I felt talented! I felt skillful!

And I needed that, I really, really needed that. I feel extreme gratitude that I’m able to stay home indefinitely with my child, but I’m an intelligent 21st century woman, and I, of course, thought I’d be doing “more” with myself than this.

And I am, by continuing to write and imagine a creatively productive future for myself. I’m trying to re-define what work and success means – I think we’ve been incredibly closed minded about this since we broke through the barriers that kept us out of men’s careers in the past. Yes, we can now do what men do. But what else can we do? Can we create a world where we get to use our skills and intellects in the adult world, while being present for our children?

That is the never-ending question for someone like me. Because I will never be happy being “just a mommy,” or “just a housewife.”

IN OTHER BABY NEWS

1. Sebastian has had two bottom teeth for a few weeks and the jury is out on whether he will be getting more teeth sooner, or much later. But something may be happening because he has been quite irritable the past few days, grabbing fist-fulls of my hair – right at the roots if it’s pulled back – kicking and hitting me as he lies wide awake next to me in the wee hours of the night, and BITING me. (And he’s barely 5 months old, mind you, so none of this is conscious on his part and there isn’t really a way to modify his behavior, aside from reading his mind and fixing whatever it is that’s making him so discontent.)

He bit me really badly two days ago, bad enough that I’m panicking in my mind about what I will have to do if this problem gets worse. I’m not able to produce enough milk by pumping to pump exclusively for him. I think I might preemptively order some of those nipple shields. Yeah, even if I never use them, I think it will be better to have them around in case he does another angry clamp-down on my sore nipple. The pain of the abrasion he gave me is this searing, shooting pain I’d rather not make worse.

2. I got my period in the middle of the night last night. Wah, wah. 🙁 And I don’t understand why, since I breastfeed exclusively. My midwife had told me I could be fertile as soon as I missed a night feeding – and I don’t feed him for most of the night anymore. But still, since I’m still the sole source of nourishment for this growing boy, I thought my period would stay away longer.

So my to-do list now has at the top:

  • Order Diva cup online
  • Call midwives for birth control appointment
  • Oh, and order nipple shields.

As for the birth control, I think the safest thing to do while breastfeeding is the IUD … but it just gives me the heebie-jeebies for some reason, so I don’t know …. Any other suggestions?

Ha! I just might have time to shower before he wakes up!!! (She writes, just as he begins to stir in the other room …)

Me and Baby

Life With a Newborn

All right, y’all, I had a baby!

Sebastian is 3 weeks and 3 days and I am finally writing a few words of reflection as he sleeps in my lap (because if I put him down, he’ll wake up sooner). After three weeks of very little sleep and lots of visitors, I’m grateful to finally have a bit of time to attempt to capture what has been going on in my head during this time of transition. My hubby and a good friend from Denver have gone to Telluride to ski today – after making sure all my needs were met ( more than he’s been able to do while rushing off to work) – and Sebastian has hardly been fussing at all the past couple of days,  so I can finally think.

Honestly, a lot of the time, I haven’t really had much going on in my head. I had a lot going through my head the first several days, but then the endless sleeplessness numbed it out of me. One rare peaceful moment this past week when hubby, baby, and I were cuddling on the couch after he returned from work and made us dinner again – or did we eat take-out again that night? – I marveled to him that I don’t feel a whole lot different as I would have expected to. I still feel like me (not like a mom). I sometimes felt this way when I was pregnant too, just like a completely normal me. But when pregnant, especially towards the end, there were definitely days, or times of day, when I felt different. Days when I felt special, important, because I was carrying another life within me. Days when I didn’t mind the waddling and aching and having reflux, because it was all for the purpose of bringing my baby into the world.

And then suddenly one day, the pregnancy is over, he is on the outside of me, and I’m fumbling to get my nipple into his mouth in a way that will satiate his newly hungry belly without killing me – trying desperately to get that “good latch.” Now I finally know what it feels like to nurse, and to have leaking milk ooze down my side and puddle on my clothes, before I can find something to mop it up with, while he impatiently bobs his head back in forth in front of my breast. I’m experiencing things that I had heard would happen to me, but I never understood what it would actually be like until they did.

That’s what new motherhood is all about. You hear about the sleepless nights, you hear about the stitches and the breastfeeding (though no one tells you about the leaking, spraying boobs until it’s happening to you), you hear about the not being able to eat or drink anything while it’s still hot, the inability to shower for days, and the milk and spit-up all over your clothes, but you are unable to have any comprehension of these things until it actually happens to you. And  despite all these strange changes, it doesn’t feel all that different. I’m not feeling that overwhelming sense of responsibility I expected to have, or so much love that I fear my heart will break.

Not that I haven’t felt anything. For a while, I felt a lot of frustration and fear that this time of difficult adjustment would never end. But luckily, his fussiness has ebbed, we’ve slept a bit more, and I’m feeling the calming effects of the breastfeeding hormones that I’ve been reading about.

And thank goodness for that! Last night we went out to a restaurant for the first time to meet a friend of a friend – another coincidental contact in this small town. I was able to eat the bad bar food, drink half a beer, and balance Sebastian on my lap to nurse under a cover, while keeping up with the conversation, and the whole time I felt  mellow.

And I’m thankful for that mellowness, because I had been stressed about having yet another visitor this weekend instead of just getting to hang out with Tim and the baby as a new family (his parents came for a weekend the day after we got back from the hospital, then my mom came for 10 days, then he was on-call all the next weekend, then our good friend from Denver came….). But this visit has been great! I’ve gotten to feel like my pre-baby self, hanging out with a friend I made before I got pregnant, and she hasn’t shown a lick of weirdness about my leaking boobs.

It worked out great too, because she came a day early and is leaving Sunday morning so I will get to have the rest of the day with just Tim and the baby (and the dog – Casey, we haven’t forgotten about you). I’ll get to cuddle and reflect more tomorrow and get ready to post the big birth story post.