Thursday, September 5, 2013

Postpartum Paranoia

I've mentioned it before but it bears repeating - I am a paranoid nutcase. This is not good considering that even the most reasonable, normally sane people turn into paranoid nutcases when they have a baby. So, in my case, I suppose this makes me doubly paranoid and doubly nutty.

I told you in an earlier post about my son's premature birth, and the circumstances surrounding his early arrival only solidified my belief that giving into my paranoia is a good thing. It was my paranoia that allowed the doctors to discover a problem with me that would otherwise have gone unnoticed and, let me tell you, getting that sort of positive reinforcement after a paranoid freak out moment only encouraged me to be triply paranoid after little man arrived. Add to that the fact that he spent 9 days in intensive care at the hospital before being sent home and you end up with the perfect storm of paranoia.

I really didn't want to be a paranoid mom. I try not to roll my eyes too noticeably when I hear other mothers speak of their constant fears that their little Timmy might trip on his shoelaces and plummet down a well belonging to the creepy serial killer from "The Silence of the Lambs" and that's why he's only allowed to wear footwear with Velcro now ... and other such nonsense ... But I do strongly believe that while a healthy amount of loving concern is natural, there's also a point where a mother's paranoia goes too, too far. And let me tell you - the first few days that little man was home from the hospital my level of paranoia sailed well past the "normal" line and soared straight out into crazyville.

The first thing that happened is that GAR and I bought a baby monitor. On the surface this doesn't sound overly cautious, but we bought a monitor designed for only the most paranoid of parents - the Angelcare system. It was recommended to us by many, many paranoid parents who told us that this monitor literally saved their baby's life. How? Well thanks to a special Angelcare movement detector hookup, this monitor sounds an alarm if your baby hasn't moved or breathed in 15 seconds. "What peace of mind this gives you!!!" every paranoid parent everywhere declared.

Ah yes, what peace of mind this alarm gave me when it went off 8 times in one night - blaring as I frantically ran to my baby's cradle in hysterics to see if he was still breathing. Peace of mind as I sobbed through days on end of not sleeping because I refused to put my baby down for even a second - convinced that if I did he really would stop breathing (as fortunate as I was to make it through childbirth and the weeks following without any feelings of postpartum depression - and trust me, GAR the counselor monitored me closely by asking me thinly veiled questions to assess my mental health - I still nearly went delirious from sleep deprivation and paranoia alone). Peace of mind as I checked my newborn back into the hospital to be hooked up to even more monitors for even more examinations (and more hours of not sleeping on my part as those alarms were also going off constantly, further convincing me that my baby was in peril). Peace of mind as the doctors laughed off our concerns by saying such gems as "First  time parents, eh?" (which I don't get ... Are you implying that if I had other kids I wouldn't bother getting this one checked out because, hey, I can afford to lose this one?) and "No one knows what causes SIDS. If he's going to die in his sleep there's nothing you can do to prevent it." (Thanks doc! That's reassuring...) Ah yes, thanks to this alarm I got so many countless hours of "peace of mind" that I can't even count them all here. 

Truth be told my little man was setting off all these alarms simply because he's a really shallow breather. Even the high tech hospital alarms couldn't detect his teeny little baby breaths. So basically we really were panicking over nothing. But thanks to my paranoid hospital check-in I was able to confirm that little man really does suffer from acid reflux - which my pediatrician swore wasn't the case - so score! Another paranoid belief of mine was true ... See, more positive reinforcement! (Which is also probably why I convinced my pediatrician to refer little man to a cardiologist ... Who discovered a hole in little man's heart ... Which I'm told is most likely harmless but, nonetheless, further reinforces my paranoia. It really is a vicious cycle.)

But I've toned it down a bit now. Honestly I have! I returned the baby monitor and now little man sleeps right by my side (in a special cradle that tilts him upright 30 degrees so he doesn't choke on his acid reflux, of couse) - but, hey, at least he's completely monitor free! Baby steps people!

Still, I'm convinced there's something wrong with his belly button. It's an outie and it kind of looks like it's giving me the evil eye when I change little man's diapers. The doc says it's normal but I'm not convinced. Maybe I'll stay up a few more hours googling it ...

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Boobies

I was promised big boobs ... and I feel duped.

Okay, I know I said I would share more baby related stories but, let's be honest here, you don't want to hear about my baby 24/7. Oh yes, you will hear LOTS more about him because I am totally already THAT type of mom. But I think we both would like something a little different for a change and, since I have very little else to talk about right now, the topic of the day is my boobs.

I have long labored under the delusion that pregnancy gives you big knockers. Frankly I feel that this is a lie that should be squished right here and now because, seriously, I was massively disappointed when I found that this was not the case (for me anyway). Oh sure, my A cups did spillith over a tad more than usual, but not so much that I really needed new brassieres. Or, and this is me spreading a little TMI just for the sake of demystifying any mistaken glamour you may have around this subject, my left boob didn't require a new bra, whereas my right breast would have faired well in a bigger size because (and this is something I was never warned about) my boobs grew at totally different speeds until they were totally lopsided.

Not fair!!! So terribly cruel! My ta tas had always been small but at least they were nicely proportioned. Pregnancy stole that from me and left me with one slightly bigger, not at all cosmetically attractive, hooter.

All my friends assured me that they would get bigger still. "Wait until the milk comes in!" they cried. So I held out hope. I prayed to the boobie fairy and waited for the sweet, sweet mother's milk to fill out my cans.

And lo - at last the day did come where my boobs grew to the size of actual melons. It happened ... It finally happened! My A cups were literally busting out of everything I tried to use to contain them. They really were enormous (btw, I can't even begin to fathom what happens to the boobs of women who have big breasts to begin with - it must be quite a sight to behold). I felt like a porn star with these things. Not just because they were comically large compared to my normal build, but because they looked ridiculous overall. Like two rock hard perfectly round cantaloupes shoved down my shirt. They looked fake ... Like a bad boob job. They weren't even remotely sexy or attractive like I'd always imagined. It was all a terrible lie!!

Worst of all is that, even if they had looked good, GAR wouldn't have been able to enjoy them - these new jugs were strictly for baby. Hands off buddy!

Now my milk has all dried up ... and my melons shrunk back down to the size of apples again. I mean, they disappeared almost immediately. What a jip! And the cruelest injustice of all is that they did not even shrink back down to looking just the same as before I got pregnant. No! They shrunk down all uneven. That's right - my pesky right boob is still bigger! It's now like I've got one Granny Smith and on one side and a teeny crabapple on the other. Thanks a lot boob fairy! I mean, thanks for nothing. And, dear reader, let this be a lesson for you because, really, this is the type of shit that no one ever warns you about.

I've always hated the term "boobies" anyway. There are so many reasons, but I think this video says it best.
 

Love your ta tas ladies!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Abrupted Development

You guys, I had sooo many more pregnancy related blog posts planned for you. But now I guess they’re all a little moot (and perhaps you’re happy that you won’t be bombarded with my tales of maternity anymore) … I mean, now that my baby has arrived … a mere 6 weeks ahead of schedule.

If you read my last several posts (which are all months old by this point) you already know that I was feeling a little crunched for time trying to get ready for baby’s arrival. And him coming so early did mean that many items on my “to do” list never really got done. But I DID finish watching every episode of “Arrested Development” before my little man made his arrival … so there, I completed SOMETHING (oh, and I also completed my childbirth prep class in time … a class that I completely did not need all in the end – you’ll see).

Here’s the thing – while in utero my little man was a very active fetus. He was bopping and jumping and punching me constantly from the inside out. He had baby ADD for sure. And then, a few weeks before he was born, he did this massive belly flop inside of me and, from that point on, he just sort of laid there. Oh sure he’d jab at me now and then but, comparatively, he had really settled down. I thought maybe he was simply running out of room in there – perhaps his sleeping quarters were getting a bit too tight – but when I saw my doctor one morning 6 weeks before my due date I mentioned the baby’s reduced movements offhand. My doc was not concerned. But, just to ease my paranoid mind, he decided to hook me up to a non-stress test to check everything out. Basically the test just involved having a lap band wrapped around my belly for 30 minutes to monitor little man’s heart rate over an extended time. That’s it. Oh sure, every now and then a nurse would come in and place this item that I can only describe as a vibrator against my stomach (to see if that would get a rise out of the baby … which sort of seemed like cheating to me), but otherwise all I did was sit there.

But I failed the test. Little man’s heart rate inexplicably would drop for no good reason. Not a huge amount mind you, but enough that my doctor sent me to hospital for further examination.

The hospital triage staff regarded my arrival with annoyed skepticism. “Why did my doctor send you here?” they said time and time again. Oh sure, they hooked me up to heart rate monitors, completed ultrasound workups, everything they were asked to do, but they were clearly baffled by my presence. GAR and I passed the downtime between exams by making plans for the upcoming weekend. I emailed with work to keep them posted on my current whereabouts. A nurse named Cherry (for once I am using someone’s actual name on this blog … no need to protect the “innocent” in this case) would pop in every now and then decked out in scrubs with cherries on them and a necklace with cherries on it … you know, just in case you didn’t “get” the deep meaning of her name … and give us updates but that was it. The heart rate monitor beeped away, showing that little man’s heart rate was squarely in the “normal” range of 120-180 beats per minute.

Until suddenly the beeping of his heartbeat got slower … and slower … and soon it read 60 … and I panicked. I mean I FREAKED THE FUCK OUT. I wanted some sort of alarms to signal … flashing lights and sirens to alert the medical staff. But no such thing happened. And when no one came running I hysterically cried out for GAR to run into the hall to find Cherry … or ANYONE who could help me.

Cherry came into the room making excuses for where she was and why she hadn’t been aware that anything was wrong. Then in ran about half a dozen other medical professionals who seemed just as freaked out as I was. Suddenly I was having an oxygen mask placed over my face, an IV needle put into my arm, and was being frantically briefed that they were going to need to cut the baby out of me immediately and that this involved many risks to myself and to little man … risks which were being rattled off to me at breakneck speed as I choked back tears. One of the nurses/doctors/random strangers in the room demanded that I remove my pants – a task that was nearly impossible to accomplish with an IV in my arm and a heart rate monitor still strapped around my midsection – so I told GAR to remove them for me … which he did in record speed … while Cherry jokingly remarked “Whoa, he’s done that before!” Ummm … Is now the right time to crack wise Cherry? Is it?

Then the strangest thing happened – I got fisted. A doctor stuck her entire hand up inside me to “stimulate the baby’s head.” It was awkward, but it worked – little man’s heart rate suddenly went back to normal. And then everyone just left the room. Alarm canceled I guess? Though I didn’t feel better at all.

We were left alone with Cherry who offered dubious explanations for what just happened. She told me not to be worried about the fact that my baby’s heart almost just stopped completely but told me they’d be keeping me overnight for observation just in case. I told her that I was still really freaked out and that I felt like something must be wrong any maybe we did need to get the baby out of me immediately. Cherry, in all her infinite wisdom, said this would be a bad idea because even though most babies born 6 weeks early are fine some still end up “riding the short bus.” EXCUSE ME? What?? Yes, THAT makes me feel soooo much better.

And then she left the room … again … And little man’s heart rate dropped down to 60 … again … And GAR had to go running for help … again …

And this time even being fisted didn’t do the trick. I was told I really was being rushed into surgery for reals this time. It was sort of a blur. They were pumping something in through my IV and wheeling me through the hospital in a flurry of commotion. I couldn’t see GAR anymore but I knew he was within earshot somewhere so I cried out to him to call my mom or my sister to let them know what was happening. Once in the operating room I was surrounded by tons of new doctors and surgeons who all kindly introduced themselves to me and, while I appreciated the niceties, I was so shaken I couldn’t really retain the information being thrown at me. I had been told that since it was an emergency c-section I was going to have to be put to sleep. But, thankfully, little man’s heart rate stabilized for long enough for them to put a spinal tap in my back so that I could stay awake and, equally importantly, GAR could be present for the surgery. The spinal tap worked quickly (although I was still acutely aware of the fact that I was pantless in a room full of strangers – hey I’m only human) and when they brought me a large pile of paperwork to sign (which I can only assume released the hospital of any liability should anything go wrong … not that I took the time to read any of it) my hands were like wobbly lead and I could barely manage a scribble for a signature (though they did insist I make the date legible – a nearly impossible feat given the amount of numbing medicine being pumped through my veins).

Finally GAR was beside me in scrubs and I was being cut open … not that I was aware of it in the slightest. I mean, I could feel some tugging – I wasn’t completely oblivious to the procedure – but there was no pain at all. And when they told me it was time to pull little man out I could feel it happen … sort of. It felt like a giant weight had literally been lifted off of me (probably because it had … literally). But I was still scared. This was all happening far too early. Would my son be too little? Too underdeveloped? Would he have to ride the short bus as Cherry had so eloquently stated? I listened as my little man cried for the first time and when they read off his weight – 5 pounds, 6.5 ounces – I sighed with relief that my preemie, at the very least, wasn’t totally malnourished. GAR peered over at him and told me what was happening (then he peered over and saw my sliced open stomach and innards all on display – a poor move on his part if I do say so myself) until finally they brought my little bundled up munchkin over to me and placed him on my chest. I couldn’t really move much but I touched his cheek and examined every teensy bit of his exposed flesh (which wasn’t much – just his cute little face). But I knew it was short lived – they told me that little man needed to go to the NICU – and soon he was wheeled away. I was stapled shut (I couldn’t feel it but I could hear the staple gun firing, which was a little jarring) and rolled off to recovery until I could feel my legs again (which took so long to happen that they repeatedly gave away hospital rooms that had been reserved for me).

During the many hours I spent in recovery all I wanted to do is see my little man some more. I sent GAR down to the NICU to take photos of him to show me on his phone, which was nice, but no replacement for actually being able to hold the little dude myself (something I wouldn’t really get to do for quite some time – a fact that caused me much grief in the days that followed his arrival). I also used my time in recovery to Google what had happened that caused little man’s early arrival. The OB who performed my c-section informed me afterwards that the reason for little man’s plummeting heartbeat was discovered when they removed the placenta and saw that it was detaching from my uterus. In my case the placenta had detached approximately 20%. I learned from my Googling that placental abruption (as it’s called) is, in fact, a very serious condition that results in death of the baby 24% of the time (and also has a rather high maternal death rate as well). While I didn’t have any of the risk factors that generally lead to a placental abruption (tobacco and/or cocaine use, a car accident or other jarring physical accident, diabetes, or a handful of other listed potential reasons) one thing was immediately clear – if things had gone differently … if I hadn’t been paranoid about little man moving around in my belly less than usual and if I hadn’t been sent to the hospital that day for a full workup … I very likely could have lost my baby (and as I’ve told others what happened to me I have, unfortunately, been told stories of babies who were not as lucky as my own).

Not that I meant to take this in such a morbid direction – sorry about that. But all this leads me to the truth … which is something that no one ever says – the day I had my son was NOT the happiest day of my life. Furthermore I think it’s bullshit when anyone says that (it ranks right up there with other lies that people spread … like how when you try on your wedding dress you’ll “just know” it’s the one, or that as a woman you really can “have it all” – the perfect career, the perfect family, the perfect size 2 waistline – without comprising a thing … all of which make us women feel like failures and causes us to lie through our teeth to swear we feel the same even when it’s not the case). Even if everything with little’s man birth had gone exactly as planned it would have still been a day full of pain and worry and cold tables and backless hospital gowns. But, in my case, it was a day of immense fear, panic, stress and countless gut-wrenching emotions. There is no doubt that my little man is the single greatest thing in my life and that nothing has ever brought me as much joy and wonder as he already has in his relatively short existence, but I assure you that EVERY SINGLE DAY of this past (nearly) one month has been far better than the actual day he was born.

I have so much more to share with you. Good times, more comical times that I can share with you with the proper amount of levity you expect from me … and yes, okay, more paranoid freak out moments as well. But, until then, I shall simply share with you some cuteness. Enjoy!

 
"Holding" little man in the operating room.
 


Little man in the NICU.



Sleeping peacefully and sporting a teensy little preemie onesie after coming home. AWWW!!

 
Family photo in little man's (still not entirely completed) nursery.
 

All grown up! (Well that's how I see him now - at 4 weeks old ... or negative 2 weeks, depending how you see it.)

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Firsts

Right now my life is full of “firsts.” My first pregnancy with my first child who will be the first baby I will raise (and, let’s be honest here, also likely the last), which opens the door to endless firsts in my future … his first diaper change, first bath, first night home from the hospital … all the way up to his first driving lesson, first date, first job … and so on. I am so excited about all of these firsts, even if I am a little clueless as to how to deal with them all – How will I respond the first time he asks me how babies are made? (Is the stork still a viable lie to tell to tide me over for awhile? I doubt that reading him my post about his conception would help clear things up much.) Or wonders if Santa is real? Or God for that matter? (Though for now I suppose I can just focus on how to swaddle him properly, supporting his wobbly head and stuff like that, and save the worrying about his potential existential questions until at least after he’s said his first word or two.)

But, this past weekend I did get to experience a few firsts with my 6-month-old niece and, while it still in no way prepares me for the challenges before me in motherhood, it was incredibly exciting to get just a small taste of what it’s like to see things for the first time through her eyes (plus I got in some more practice with feeding and changing diapers, got a sneak peek at just how insanely jealous our pups will be once there’s a baby living permanently in our house, learned how to use my diaper genie and how to eat one handed while holding a baby with the other, experienced a eureka moment when I figured out that putting a baby in an exersaucer buys me just enough time to do my hair and makeup, and got a crash course in which types of toys are best to slobber on vs. which get totally snubbed by discerning infants like my niece).

And GAR totally nailed his first attempt at installing an infant car seat (thanks to the good people of YouTube who like to post their own homespun “how to” videos).


I must say that living in Orlando has its perks, and one great thing about the “City Beautiful” is the endless amount of entertainment options available. But, of course, when it comes to my niece there really was one very obvious first that needed to come first out of all the firsts (got that?) – A trip to the Magic Kingdom.


And how could she possibly go to “Mickey’s House” without meeting the main mouse himself?


She also got to experience her first train ride (and monorail ride for that matter).


And she *almost* got to take her first Dumbo flight … but she fell asleep in line instead.


Plus, I learned a few things too … like how, with a baby, it takes you 5 hours to ride the train, meet Mickey and *almost* ride Dumbo (a series of events that takes about 45 minutes sans baby). I also learned that the line to meet Mickey is only 20 minutes whereas the line to meet the Disney Princesses is 70 minutes. Where are people’s priorities?

Oh, and of course, my niece also got her first pair of Mickey ears! I mean, this cuteness is TO DIE FOR!


My sister and I also got a little “girl” time sans baby while GAR got his own first – A whole night of babysitting duties. While I can’t speak to how he faired that evening since I was not there to witness it for myself (though I do know he learned all about the “witching hour” while we were away. And, just like “happy hour” at any TGI Fridays, it lasted much more than simply an hour), I did get a call when I was merely 2 minutes from the house frantically inquiring about the whereabouts of pacifiers in our home … leading me to believe it was quite a learning experience for my dear husband. Nonetheless, he proved to be quite the capable babysitter that evening, even if he did expose her to “Maury” paternity tests (as I left the house he was explaining to my niece who was and was not the father of the babies on tv … and I’m fairly certain this scenario will play out very similarly when I return to work after maternity leave and GAR is left in charge of our son’s daytime tv watching habits).


Plus, it was all for a good cause – My sister and I got to go see Boys II Men and New Kids on the Block in concert (and 98 Degrees but, really, aside from Nick Lachey’s abs, we didn’t really care about that)!


My sister also threw me a lovely baby shower. And, while it wasn’t the first one I’ve attended, it was the first where I was the one who’s pregnant. I opened so many baby gifts – tons on teensy little onesies that my baby will soon be donning for the first time … books that I will read to him on the first of many sleepless nights … toys that he will touch, explore and examine upon first inspection … and so many other thoughtful presents that filled me with joy (and also trepidation – A tube that I use to suck snot out of my baby’s nose? REALLY??) Just thinking about all the firsts that GAR and I will soon have with our little one really does make this (normally not so sappy) gal feel all giddy inside. Damn, when did I become so cheesy?



And before my niece left we tried out one more first – Her first dip in the pool. (WARNING: Photo of pregnant lady in a bikini coming up)



Seriously guys, I wish I could have captured her excitement about the whole thing and shared it all with you. She loved the water. I could have stayed in there with her all day while she smiled and kicked her little legs like a natural Michael Phelps (and yes, I do know that Ryan Lochte is technically the new swimming “it” boy, plus he’s a Floridian, but there’s no way I’m comparing my precious little niece to him especially since, at 6 months old, she’s already wayyyy smarter than he is). And, thankfully, I got some tiny swim trunks and swim diapers as a shower gift so I know that this swim with my niece was just the first of many swims she’ll be enjoying with her baby cousin in the future.


Now she just needs to make another visit so we can experience a whole new world of firsts together. Thankfully it looks like she’s already plotting her next trip!


While my due date is still 2 months away I still can’t help but feel like it’s right around the corner. This is especially true now that I’ve experienced another first – This weekend I also felt (and even saw … my entire stomach was shaking and jiggling like a possessed mold of Jell-o while it happened) my baby move into the standard “head down” position. It was truly a surreal experience. Of course I would need an ultrasound to confirm all this, but it was rather obvious what was happening as the lump in my stomach where (what I always assumed was) his head normally resided started moving downwards in front of my eyes, while the kicking of his feet in my abdomen started pedaling its way upwards. And now it’s obvious from every jab I feel that he’s completely readjusted in there. Oh yes, this shit just got real … and I’m getting really anxious to finish the nursery … now.

But first, one more photo. My baby belly really does make for a great little seat for my niece … for now.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Denial? No, That’s Just a River in Egypt

Last week I went to Publix and the bagger literally pointed at my stomach and said “Congratulations!” Now, I’m not saying that I don’t look pregnant – I do – and, of course, I would much rather have someone assume I’m pregnant as opposed to simply just packing on the extra pounds, but I was still slightly horrified. No one should ever accuse a woman they don’t know (or even one they do) of being pregnant. I think that when you actually spot a baby coming out of my nether regions THEN you can safely assume I’m pregnant … and not a moment sooner. And I’m sure that almost all women would be with me on this one. Being falsely accused of being pregnant is one of the most heinous crimes that could possibly be committed. Even if you are absolutely convinced a woman is knocked up I assure you – it’s just not worth the risk to say anything. (Although I should note that a former boss of mine recently informed our VP that I was “pregnant, not just fat” and I thought that was probably not the best choice of words either. I dunno, call me overly sensitive but ...)

Perhaps part of the reason I took this seemingly harmless remark about my obvious “pregnant-ness” so hard is that I’m still in complete denial that my belly is growing so rapidly. For some reason my brain hasn’t registered this – or refuses to process it – whichever. I just keep acting surprised when my stomach gets in the way of things. I knock into my kitchen counters when I’m trying to reach for something that is now, thanks to my tummy, clearly out of reach. I am thoroughly amazed when I can’t bend over easily. Heck, I even knocked some poor guy in the head with my belly when I tried to shimmy between two closely placed tables at lunch. Each time I thought “Huh, what’s happening?” before I was finally able to put the rather obvious puzzle pieces together.

But today I went to return some non-maternity dresses to Old Navy because, weirdly, they totally didn’t fit me right at all (why? They ARE my size ... that's odd) – and I was also wearing non-maternity clothes at the time (with the elastic waist on my skirt sitting well below my stomach ... you know, like how Al Bundy used to wear his pants) – when some guy in the store says to me “You 2 go ahead of me.” As I looked at him quizzically (2 of us??) he smiled and, of course, pointed to my stomach. Ah yes, me and the baby. Now I remember.

Of course I knew this would happen eventually. For awhile I was able to deny it though. In fact, the bulk of my growth thus far has sort of come in spurts. It was only a month ago that people would see me and declare “Are you sure the baby is ok in there? You barely look pregnant at all!” And so you couldn’t blame me in thinking ... HOPING ... that I’d look a little more like pregnant Princess Kate than pregnant Kim Kardashian. But, just like any tabloid “star,” the reviews of me looking “too skinny” turned quickly into deflating declarations of my rapid, burgeoning growth. Well, it was good while it lasted.

And, as someone who is now quite obviously with child, I have to say that I haven’t really been taking enough advantage of this whole “being pregnant” thing. I haven’t really played the pregnant lady card to get what I want very often at all. Thankfully someone I have no recollection of ever meeting before stopped by my office today just to tell me how big I'm getting (thanks random lady!) and it reminded me that I really should be milking this for all it's worth.

So I called and scheduled a pre-natal massage. Why not? I deserve it. (Though, did you know you have to get a doctor's note saying it's okay? I don't get it – it's just someone rubbing me, right? Do I also need to get a note saying it's okay to drive my car over speed bumps? This is madness people - madness!) And this weekend I'll also be trying out a little pre-natal yoga as well (though I really don’t know how my belly won’t get in the way of me being successful at that). But I know I should be taking this so much farther. Why am I pumping my own gas still - aren’t the fumes bad for me? GAR should be doing this for me. And I hauled in groceries yesterday with very little assistance. Why did no one offer to carry them for me? Come to think of it, should I really be forced to do anything for myself at all anymore? Where is the chivalry? The compassion? Shouldn’t everyone be doing their part to help this humongous pregnant lady out?

Or maybe I’ll just keep doing all those things but carve out a little more “me time” while I still can. That’s really more my speed. Plus, I’m not really THAT big ... you can hardly even tell ... barely ... just a little ...
 

Oh, but I did let GAR convince me that I’m entitled to use the “expectant mom” parking spots (where you can find them). I really don’t “need” to use them (not yet anyway) but this is summer in Orlando after all and I don’t want to look gigantically pregnant AND sweaty. Vanity wise that might really push me over the edge.


So here I am. Full disclosure, this photo was taken by GAR who, despite his many wonderful attributes, has never been great at getting a good belly shot of me. I am, in fact, much bigger in person than this photo lets on. That said, I am now convinced that this is the only outfit that makes me look even remotely "thin-ish" anymore and I will likely be wearing it daily from this point forward. Ha ha - no one will ever guess I'm pregnant in this dress!!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

An Education that Gives Me More Than Just a Naked Ricki Lake

GAR and I have been joking for months that, despite all the apprehension and nervousness we feel about becoming first-time parents, we really have but one mission to focus on (at first) – keep the baby alive.

I think that most new parents feel this way in the beginning. After all, newborns are so tiny and frail … and their head is still soft and squishy in parts … it’s hard not to think you’re for sure going to “break” him. I mean, what do I know about caring for another human’s life? You’re just going to let me walk out of this hospital with a fragile little baby and no training? Heck, I need a permit to go fishing but not to assume total responsibility for the health and well being of a defenseless infant? It’s just wrong! You are putting your trust into the wrong hands! I drop my cell phone 10 times a day and you’re handing me this wiggling thing? Bad idea mister. Bad idea.

It really is ridiculous if you think about it. There’s nothing that occurs during the 9 months I’m carrying this baby inside of me that in any way prepares me for what it will be like to actually care for this child once he’s out of the womb and in my arms. And yet people do it every day. People who are, as a general rule, often seemingly much LESS capable than I. People who qualify as adults merely due to their age in physical years, not in mental ones. And yet somehow, miraculously, their kids survive (I’m not saying they raise them well or serve as great role models or what have you – that is a post for another day – but in the sheer matter of keeping the baby alive they are able to succeed). So surely, SURELY, mine will too.

So perhaps babies are slightly more hearty and resilient than I imagine. Nonetheless, I do think it’s still my job to go ahead and educate myself on how to care for my baby now. This seems like the type of information I should know … even if, oddly, there is no law, rules or regulations requiring me to do so. I guess I’m just a real nerd like that. But it seems I’m not alone in my pursuit of knowledge on this topic. When I went online to sign up for prenatal classes at the hospital I found that they were booked for weeks to come. I am, it seems, dreadfully behind already!

Well, actually, that’s not exactly true. Not ALL of the classes were full. In fact, the “basic infant care” class which, per my reasons stated above, seems like to most critical one to take for first timers like GAR and myself, had lots of availability. Tons of openings. Apparently everyone else who’s pregnant knows exactly what they’re doing and thinks caring for a new swaddling dependent will be a breeze … a task that requires no training. No, in fact the class that was so full I had to schedule it a little too close to my due date for comfort is the all-day “childbirth preparation” class (though I am still uncertain why a class on giving birth, which is, relatively speaking, a fairly small part of the whole “having a child” equation is 8 hours and the class for actually caring for said baby in the months and years that follows is a mere 2 hours. But it’s not my place to question such things when I am, thus far, completely uninitiated into the club of people who know about this stuff).

This has led me to one, fairly major, conclusion – people are more concerned about physical labor pains than they are about the years of labor they’ll endure once that pain has passed. And by “concerned” I really mean “terrified.” Perhaps they’ve reached the same conclusion I have – that people everywhere manage to keep their kids alive, surely they can do the same. Perhaps they think they don’t need training for that part. But, if there’s one thing that every first time mother seems to be completely flabbergasted about it’s how she’s going to fit that giant (albeit squishy) head and broad shoulders through such a small opening … and how to minimize the pain and trauma it will surely bring about. And she wants as much information as possible about it.

But I don’t. Actually, the less I know the better. Now, it must be stated that I am not one who is of a delicate deposition. I am not too bothered by blood and pain and all the gross, horrifying stories people just love to tell you about childbirth. I am not na├»ve about it. I get it. I know what happens. I know it hurts like Hell. I am harboring no grand delusions about it. But, aside from the basics, I don’t really feel like I want to think about it too much in advance. The day will come when it must be done and, by the end of that day … or the next (or so) … it will be done. So why worry myself about it? I mean, one way or another that baby is coming out of me. And even if I have no clue what I’m doing, I will (lest I’m trapped due to a hurricane or some other unforeseen freak occurrence) be surrounded by trained professionals who DO know what they’re doing. And that’s a heck of a lot more than I can say for what things will be like once I check out of the hospital and GAR and I are truly on our own to figure this whole “parenting” thing out for ourselves.

So, while I am worried sick about how to care for a newborn, I am not too concerned about childbirth itself. In the grand scheme of things it’s really the very least of my worries (and, using my same logic as before, I’ve known plenty of true wimps who’ve made it through the ordeal just fine. If they can do it I am quite confident that I can as well). And, if I weren’t such a geek about being educated, I wouldn’t even take the childbirth class at all. I mean, why discuss and worry about things that are, to some degree, out of my control? But of course I signed us up anyway. You know, gotta learn all those breathing techniques that I’ll never actually be calm enough to perform when it comes time to use them. Heck, I’m sure we’ll be so rattled that I’ll be lucky if GAR even remembers how to drive me to the hospital when my water breaks (or doesn’t break – I’m sure I’ll learn all about what can, or may not, happen in my class). In this case, getting there really may be half the battle. So at least this class will, if nothing else, serve as a nice trial run for getting from our house to the hospital. And that’s almost worth the price of admission.

Plus, I am strangely curious to check out the food selection in the cafeteria. While it’s not exactly the same as checking into a luxury hotel for a couple days I know I will, at some point after I managed to get that baby out of me, be wanting to nosh on something. Now THAT is the part of childbirth that truly terrifies me – the cafeteria food!

Now if you’ll excuse me I’ve decided to start off this whole education business with a little private “at home” viewing of some DVDs I’ve been given. But, as I said, I’m really trying to stick to the ones that highlight how to care for an actual baby. I already watched a documentary that showed Ricki Lake’s natural homebirth. Like I said, I’m not too squeamish generally, but naked Ricki Lake truly is a sight that cannot be unseen. Wish me better luck with this batch of videos!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Damn It Jim, There’s Not Enough Time!

So I saw the latest “Star Trek” movie this weekend (hence the title of this post and the reference to someone named “Jim” who, for the purposes of what I’m talking about here, doesn’t really exist). Nonetheless, the “there’s not enough time” feeling is really overcoming me at the moment and there’s no better therapy than putting off all those things I don’t have time to do and using that time to tell you about how stressed I am about not having enough time (got it? Also, apologies to my husband, the mental health professional, who would likely argue that there are, indeed, MUCH better therapy options … options which he gets paid a pretty penny for).

You see, something monumental has happened – I have entered my third (and final) trimester. GASP!! PANIC! FREAK OUT!!!

Yes, I know I was experiencing all these same emotions in my last post, so please forgive me for belaboring (pun intended) the point, but this new milestone has sent me headlong into true meltdown mode as I try to feebly craft a list of “must dos” for my life over the next 12 weeks (assuming the wee one stays tucked inside until his due date, which is always the variable you just can’t really fully prepare for completely). And, of course, people just LOVE to tell me stories about how their baby came a month, two months early – cue the hyperventilation!

And all of this has led me to one conclusion … something I’ve known for a long time actually but have been afraid to come right out and admit to openly – that I have serious control issues.

Now, if you know me you’re likely laughing right now saying “Isn’t that cute? Like EVERYONE didn’t already know that.” And you’re right. It’s no big secret. If you’re not playing kickball the way that I like I will take my ball and go home. At work I am less than cooperative about giving up ownership of any projects and will drown myself in extra hours of hurried typing to get everything done on my own rather than share the burden with anyone else. And at home? At home I demand nothing but perfection from poor GAR and constantly agonize about everything in my residence that is not completely up to my standards (which, if you’ve read my previous posts, you would know is just about everything).

Oh sure, there have been some ways in which I’ve been able to “let go” a little. And, yes, having “perfect” home is a big one. GAR and I have been living under construction for 3 years now and, in general, I have accepted this fact and even, for the most part, embraced it. But, call it crazy pregnancy hormones … or some buried nesting instincts finally poking their way to the surface … but lately I have been less than thrilled about the “partially finished” nature of everything around me. What I used find exciting and full of adventure when it comes to home improvement now feels like a burden as I frantically race to get it “all” done before baby arrives. Everyday my list of “honey dos” grows exponentially and yet the countdown until baby’s b-day is constantly getting smaller. I know it won’t all get done in time. I know I’m setting myself up for failure by pressing for it all to get done in time. I know that most of it doesn’t even NEED to get done in time because, let’s face it, this kid needs little more than milk, shelter and a place to sleep (but did I mention that we don’t have our crib yet? Aggghhhh!!!) so, really, I need to cut myself some slack here.

But I can’t. I won’t. I keep driving myself nuts insisting that everything be exactly how I want it. I keep trying to control it. But I can’t. And I realize that I’m going to have quite a lot of things that are out of my control soon … so what I really need is to learn to let it go (some of it anyway). But how?

If you were an avid watcher of the show “Friends” like I was you may recall that Monica had similar problems “letting go” when she and Chandler were starting a family. This is one of my favorite parts that I still think of and it makes me laugh.

Monica: It's just, I think, there's never gonna be a right time to have a baby. I mean, now you're unemployed and in a little while you'll find a new job that'll keep you really busy. There's always gonna be a reason not to do this, but I think once the baby comes, forget about all those reasons.
Chandler: I guess. It's always gonna be scary when we have a baby.
Monica: It's gonna be really scary. I mean, god. When we have a baby, there's gonna be so much that we're not able to control. I mean, the apartment's gonna be a mess, I won't have time to clean it. What if the baby gets into the ribbon drawer? Messes up all the ribbons?! What if there's no room for a ribbon drawer, because the baby's stuff takes up all the space!? Where will all the ribbons go!?!
Chandler: Should we go make a baby right now before you change your mind?
Monica: Yes, please!

So here I am, trying to get my ribbon drawer in order, but I also know that soon I’ll have much bigger fish to fry and that ribbon organization will just have to take a backseat. But it is a total mental shift. And I think that, just as my baby will be growing and learning each day, I’m going to have to approach this whole thing as a learning opportunity for myself as well. He is going to have complete control over me – when I eat, when I sleep (if at all), when I shower – you name it. He shall be my tiny little Christian Grey (without the S&M stuff and billions of dollars), controlling me and acting as my puppet master, and I will have to do as he wishes – ribbon drawer be damned! And if I think there’s not enough time to get it “all” done before he gets here well then I am in for a rude awakening about how much time I’ll have to get anything at all done once he is here.

Perhaps it’s best to start with baby steps. To accept that there will never, ever again in all of my life, be time for everything, and that these next 12 weeks (give or take – but, seriously kid, try to stay in there for 10 more at least, okay?) of feeling like I’m behind … feeling out of control … feeling like something’s got to give – that THIS is how it will always be from now on. This is just the loss of control that happens before I totally lose control forever. And it’s best if I learn how to embrace it – just like I learned how to embrace living in a house that’s in a constant state of upheaval – because that’s my life now and, when I look at it, that’s what I really want. I want a crazy, hectic, somewhat insane life full of diapers, playtime and bedtime stories, even if I know that also means dirty dishes in the sink, unplucked weeds poking through the cracks in the driveway and home improvement projects that have long ago fallen by the wayside.

Still, if I could just get a few ribbons organized first that would be great. You hear that kid? Just a little more time. No rush.

In the meantime, please enjoy these adorable photos of my niece that I took while in Michigan this weekend (while I was away and, therefore, not accomplishing everything on my “to do” list at home). It’s hard to believe that soon she’ll have an even more bitty cousin!