Monday, 18 August 2014

Struggles (Not Real Ones)

So there's a reason aside from laziness and baby that I haven't really been writing much of substance here.

The list of things I've thought fleetingly of writing about span from life postpartum, some advice for ladies who will go through this period at some point, how fucking depressing the world is right now, social justice, pumpkin-spiced lattes and caftans.

I only put those last three to sound cool. What are caftans, incidentally?

(Never mind, I just Googled them. Are those a thing, fashion-wise? Because they're awful. Also I did not realize that J. Peterman was a real thing - is that where they got it from in Seinfeld?)

Anyway the point is I've been wanting to write a lot but just as with other areas of my life, I'm paralyzed by insecurity.  Specifically, I'm worried that writing too much about the baby will alienate the friends I've made through my previously-childless blog, and my fear of alienation has translated into...just not writing at all. Which kind of sucks, to be honest. I love the community I've joined through blogging and the friends I've made, both the childfree and the child-ful and I don't want to lose any of you.

I'm sure you could make the case that this insecurity speaks to a deeper fear--the confusion and shift in identity that comes with becoming a parent.  I've known plenty of people who change significantly once they've had kids, and though I always promised myself that I'd become Caitlin With a Kid instead of Kid's Mother, the lines are much more blurred now that the kid is actually here.  I don't feel different, my marriage doesn't feel different, but I also don't know enough about myself from an objective perspective to know if my goal has actually been achieved (or if it will dissipate as we get further entrenched in child-rearing).

Another part of me says "who the fuck actually cares?" either about what people think or about what label to slap on myself as a parent of a barely one-month-old baby. But as someone whose wellbeing has always for better or (more frequently)for worse been inextricably tied to the opinions of others, it's far more easier said than done.

I suppose that what it comes down to is finding myself once again, for a reason so incredibly different than any other I've come across, apologizing for being me, apologizing for not knowing what the right thing to do is. Assuming that everyone else knows what I should do. I'm smack dab in the middle of a time where I think I could find a lot of value in freeing myself to write about this new chapter as I please--the good and the bad--but because of my own insecurities I feel completely paralyzed to actually start doing it.

The bottom line of this meandering post is that parenthood so far is weird and hard and amazing and has managed to make me feel more unsure of myself than I've ever been. I'm still trying to parse out what it means for me, both as a person and as someone who writes in a blog sometimes.

Anyway. I love you all and you're great. I'm not looking for validation, just wanted to check in and say that I hope you'll tolerate me as I stumble through the next months and years.

Happy Monday. <3

Thursday, 7 August 2014

A Few Things I am Enjoying Lately

Happy Thursday, friends.  This week has flown by. It's my first full week back to work, Rob turned 29, his dad came to visit for an evening, the baby has been sleeping in 2-4 hour chunks at night, and I figured out that this song helps put her to sleep as long as I don't mind listening to it several times.

It might be a bit random but I thought I'd share with you guys some things that are making life around here even more awesome than it is on its own.


1. theSkimm. This is a (free!) internet service that sends you an email every weekday morning with a succinct summary of that day's top news stories. I tend to get really behind on what is happening in the world, so it's nice to have something in an easy format that I can read while I'm feeding the baby in the morning.  By the way, theSkimm didn't pay me for this endorsement nor do they even know I'm doing it. I just like it that much.

2. Liz Lovely gluten-free cookies. I discovered these at our local bookstore when we first moved here and jeezy creezy, they are amazing. I think there's like, 150 calories in one half of one cookie, but I really don't care because they're just so delicious.  The Chocolate Moosedragons taste like straight-up brownie dough covered in sugar.  It's a good thing I can't buy them in the store because I'd weigh 400 pounds by now (though their main factory/shop is somewhere in Vermont so...might be taking a roadtrip someday).

3. Fluffernutter sandwiches. I can you go wrong?

4. "Drunk History" on Hulu. I tell everyone whose sense of humor matches mine about Drunk History because it's absolutely hilarious.  If you haven't heard of it, the show started out as a web series in which comedians get incredibly drunk and recount a historical event. The event is acted out as the drunk person narrates by other famous actors and comedians.  It's sort of hard to explain but it's hilarious and never fails to make me laugh. The show is on Comedy Central (and can be seen on Hulu Plus as well for the cable-less among us) but there are also several episodes of the original web series (and some clips from the show) here and here.

Below is probably my favorite clip from the actual show (NSFW as the language is uncensored):

5. This song.

I've started doing dance parties with the baby when she's fussy and this one always puts me in a good mood (not sure if it affects her mood since she really only has two moods as a newborn - cranky and sort of furrowed).

6. Bloglovin'. This isn't anything new since Bloglovin' has been around for awhile, but it's really made organizing my feed so easy and it's a life-saver during middle of the night feedings. Just keep updating your blogs, friends, so I have something to read to help keep me awake in the rocking chair.

7. This recipe for garlic red potatoes. For Rob's birthday I made him some steak, these potatoes and corn with cilantro-lime butter.  I was pretty proud of myself especially since I did all of this with an infant screaming bloody murder.

8. Dear Prudence. This is an advice column on Slate.  People pose the most insane moral quandries on this column and the author always writes back frankly and honestly.  I check the page multiple times a week to get the new questions.

So that's the awesome in my week. What are you guys up to? Plans for the weekend?

Thursday, 31 July 2014

Around Here/Lately/Currently/Whatever

And with that, 2 weeks have passed.

I'd apologize for my absence but I can't imagine you guys were waiting with bated breath for this next post. But I did really miss writing and interacting here so here it is anyway: I'm sorry.

I figured I'd share what's happening lately around here.

1. The obvious: getting to know our baby and adjusting.  This is harder (and more rewarding) than I ever anticipated, even with Amelia being actually a pretty easy baby. Because I'm breastfeeding exclusively, I'm the only one who can logically wake up with her in the night which usually results in some cranky resentful thoughts in the wee hours. Sometimes I talk to her kind of loudly or even talk to Rob just to wake him up and have someone to talk to.  I thought I'd missed the baby blues until yesterday, when after a night of screaming and vomiting and wondering why we chose to have a kid, I started the morning by getting pooped on and found myself in uncontrollable tears. Tears of frustration, tears of guilt for the aforementioned negative thoughts, tears of absolute fucking terror. Rob even offered to stay home from work because I was so clearly overwhelmed, but I powered through alone and today was much, much better. They aren't lying, though, when they say that the babies make it worth it. It's a good thing nature made them cute, and in my case, that nature made her look exactly like my husband in the most adorable way possible.

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2. Comforting Cypress. I will never stop feeling guilty about how much less attention Cypress is getting with the baby here.  I go out of my way to snuggle her and pet her and walk her, but when I'm totally alone the needier of the two beings gets the lion's share of my time and a few times Cypress has been snapped at in a moment of weakness (not proud of that).  I hope that will change as we get more used to life with a baby but in the meantime we are all in transition.

3. I met an internet friend! When I was 11 or so, I used an online penpal service to meet other people my age around the world.  I wrote to a girl in Israel named Sara Malka, and she and I began a correspondence that has lasted to the present day (though now on Facebook).  Even though she comes to the United States to visit family somewhat regularly, she and I had never been able to make a visit work.  The other morning, as I was nursing and messing around on Facebook, I saw that she was in Vermont - not just Vermont, but in a town an hour away from ours. I wrote to her and found out that they were leaving that morning, and would be passing right by our house. I invited her, her husband and two sons over  for a quick visit and we got to meet in person for the first time in 17 years of friendship. I still can't believe it finally happened and can't believe that it came about so spontaneously.

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4. Watching summer pass by. I can't believe it's already almost August.  My summer was devoured while waiting for Amelia and now affected by my hesitance to leave the house since to do so with a baby is something of a production.  I'm excited for our first fall back in New England after being in New Mexico for so long but really not looking forward to the winter.

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I won't miss getting the shit bit out of my hand by deerflies.

5. Heading back to work. After a relatively short hiatus I'm jumping back into work this week, which I'm pretty nervous about given how needy the baby still is. I'm also investigating daycares in preparation for classes I have to teach and places I need to travel to. Once again I'm feeling so lucky to have a job like mine that lets me work from home.

So that's life nowadays. Not all baby but definitely mostly baby.  We have no real family plans for the weekend thankfully - what are you guys doing?

Thursday, 17 July 2014

And Baby Finally Makes Three (plus Cypress)

In case you don't follow me on the more immediate forms of social media, the wee baby Seamus arrived healthy and happy (or as happy as you can be after being squeezed through a tiny opening for 4 1/2 hours) on July 11, when she officially became Amelia Rose.

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She weighed a very wee 6 lb, 12.7 oz and, obviously, was (and is) the most beautiful fucking thing I've ever seen in my life.

I've said before that I'm not a big fan of multi-part birth stories especially when the birth was largely unremarkable, so you won't find one of those here. I would have to get very poetic to drag mine out longer than a paragraph or two.  Since people seem to be interested in details, though, here's a quick rundown:

I was induced on Wednesday with some cervical medication to ripen my cervix (I know, weirdest phrase ever).  Though my bag of waters was "bulging" (what?) and the baby was pretty far down, my cervix just did not play ball. I was getting checked every few hours (and getting pretty discouraged) and spent my time obsessing over the fetal heart monitor readings and monitoring my contractions.  At about 10:30 pm on Thursday my water broke and contractions started in earnest and shocker they totally sucked. I dealt with them for awhile until I was far enough along in dilation to get some IV meds and then my epidural.  The epidural was magical, but by the time I was 9 cm and ready to push--at around 6:00am on Friday--it was keeping me from feeling contractions in my belly but not in my actual birth canal. I felt all of those.

I pushed for around 4 1/2 hours with the help of some pitocin, as I wasn't having too many contractions on my own and we would've been there all day. That 4 1/2 hours went by quickly but very painfully. I cried a lot. My doctor was great and when I asked if we were almost done (about 13 times) she'd just say, "we have more work to do." She told me I have a robust pelvic floor know. She also performed a lot of stretching while I pushed which also hurt like crazy. To help that process along she periodically poured olive oil on my lady bits which made me feel a little like Thanksgiving dinner.

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Anyway pushing was by far the hardest thing I've ever had to do in my life. I was focused and physically determined during those contractions in a way that I've never experienced. I even felt myself sort of leave my body a few times...something that's never happened to me before.  As painful and physically demanding as it was, though, it was also a pretty amazing process. I remember when they took Amelia out of me and placed her on my chest I thought, "oh, that's why I went through all of that." 

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Since we came home we've been laying low, healing, adjusting to life as parents and learning how to breastfeed which has been mostly uneventful. I wish I could say the worry has stopped but it's mostly just morphed into other things--is her latch good? Is she breathing? Is swaddling safe? Why do my nipples hurt all the time?

But at the risk of sounding cliche, it really is all worth it just to look at her face and her toes and her belly and her ears and know that we made that together. And watching Rob become a dad has been such a beautiful, emotional experience in ways I never even conceived of (haha, pun intended).  I think his support and love are the main thing that's keeping me sane (or at least close) through the sleep deprivation and the worry.

I just realized I didn't respond to your comments on my last post so I want to say thank you for all of our kind words and for thinking of us.  We're really excited about this whole new person in our lives and for having our lives completely blown apart in the best way possible.

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

What's Going On, Plus Some Maternity Photos baby yet.

I never really understood how impatient pregnant ladies got once their due dates came and went, but at 6 days overdue I am about ready to punch some throats.  It's not the discomfort that gets to me as much as the not knowing/fears of c-sections or something happening to the wee baby Seamus.

It's been a rough week or so, both for me and for Rob who is pretty sick of my cranky sue bullshit. My mom is here too so I'm sure she's pretty over it too.

I went to the doctor yesterday to get what I call the Human Hand Puppet Test (i.e. a cervical dilation check) and I've made no progress since last week, when I was around 0.5-1 centimeter. The baby is down low finally, but my cervix is being a douchebag and sitting pretty far back with no signs of wanting to come any closer.

It's funny because all through trimester 2 I was terrified I'd go into early labor because of an incompetent cervix, but turns out I got myself an over-achieving cervix instead.

Anyway my hospital's policy is to induce at 41-41.5 weeks so tomorrow morning Rob and I will be driving to the hospital to see how long it takes to have us a baby.  I'm excited but also extremely apprehensive. Pretty par for the course type shit.

I had my mom take some photos of me outside the other day since I stopped taking "nice" belly photos at like 14 weeks due to laziness. I think they came out pretty nicely if you can forgive the whole "hands cradling belly" pose I just did over and over. Pardon my hair. The last lady who dyed it didn't do a great job and it's also incredibly long and messy.

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So there you go. PREGNANT. Hopefully I'll be back in a few days to introduce our shiny new baby.