Saturday, August 29, 2009

She's Lightning McQueen, I'm 'Mater

Last night I tried to make one of Rachel Ray's "30 minute meals" for dinner. The pasta was yummy (yum-o?), but the timing... 30 minutes MY ASS. I guess cooking is like getting your tires changed. Technically, your tires could be replaced in like 30 seconds if you were a race-car driver with your own pit crew. But most of us have to go to Sears and wait at least an hour. Rachel Ray is the race-car driver. Her Food Network set kitchen is the pit crew. I'm the poor shmuck wandering around the mall, waiting for Sears to call me and tell me my car is ready. I mean, in my kitchen it takes 20 minutes just to bring enough water to a boil to cook a pound of pasta, not to mention the 10 minutes to boil the noodles themselves. That's half an hour right there, not including mixing it into the sauce, pouring the whole shebang into a casserole dish, topping it with the Special Crunchy Topping, and putting it into the oven for awhile. Assuming that you have everything together enough to get the sauce and the topping done while the pasta is cooking, it's still more like a 45-minute meal.

I think her water must be pre-heated, because she turns on the stove and-- BAM!-- water is boiling just like that. She chops her veggies, but the onions and garlic are already peeled, everything is washed, and somehow she magically takes exactly the amount of everything she needs from the fridge-- no searching for a Tupperware to house the leftover frozen spinach or the other half of the chopped onion. Little things, but sure makes a difference when you're trying to replicate her results.

I don't know whether to be annoyed at her efficiency, or to try to turn my kitchen into my own speedy pit crew...

On a similar note, I made a banana-cream pie from scratch, that I'm very proud of. I haven't made a pudding not out of a box since maybe high school. The eggs came from our own back-yard flock-- all three of the non-lame girls are laying now. The yolks were bright orange and made the filling the same color as the additive-filled Jello stuff. Kind of makes me think that if those folks used higher-quality eggs, they wouldn't need to add yellow food coloring to their vanilla pudding. Anyway, it was easy, and delicious. If I could find a way to nix the Nilla wafers and their evil ingredients, I'd be really happy, but apparently it just isn't a banana-cream pie without either a wafer or a graham-cracker crust...

Friday, August 28, 2009

I don't even own an apron

It's official: I no longer have a job. I quit the bank last week, turned in my keys and alarms. I am now, for lack of a better description, a stay-at-home mom. Really, you'd think the house would be cleaner. A few people have expressed interest in how we can afford to make this decision, but to be honest, with what I was making and the cost of daycare, it wouldn't put us that much ahead if I kept working. (It would be different if I were in a job that I loved, that spoke to me or fulfilled me in some way-- in that case, it would be worth it to go back to work even if we just broke even with it. But that is not the case.) The real bank-breaking decision is not my staying home, it was to have a baby in the first place. Since having a baby was non-negotiable, we'll make this work out, somehow.

In other news, Robert is three months old as of yesterday. Three months feels significant to me, not least because it marks three successful months of breastfeeding. Successful, as in, we're still doing it. Robert has had nothing but the boob-juice (as Don and I so elegantly call it) since coming home from the hospital, and it seems to be working OK as far as keeping him alive and growing, as he's still resting comfortably on the highest line on the growth charts. I've grown a prize pumpkin, or perhaps a lumberjack. Breastfeeding is better than it was, almost to the point of being good. The last bout of thrush seems to have cleared up, although I'm still doing the vinegar rinses, pro-biotics, and garlic supplements to keep it that way. We don't have a feeding pattern, the way we did earlier when he would nurse every two-three hours. Now, sometimes he goes five or six hours between feeds, only to make up for it later by nursing every hour for awhile. It's unpredictable. Word has it, though, that everything regarding breastfeeding is easier after three months. Here's hoping! At the very least, I hope it will never again be as awful as those first six weeks or so.

(I want to sell him to Gerber or Pampers, but Don won't let me.)

Monday, August 24, 2009

Farmers' Market

Tying Robert into the Mei Tei carrier, in the parking garage. I wish this picture were clearer (and not taken into the light) so that the pretty pattern on the Mei Tei showed up better.

This is a crepe stand across the street from the market. You'd basically never know it was there unless you knew it was there, if you know what I mean. Or, if you just happened to see a long line of people waiting for crepes, and walked over to investigate.

I don't think the French look like this when they eat crepes... It's hard to imagine an elegant Parisian doing this. I'm not including the photos Don took of my face all covered in the Nutella filling.

Sometimes, he doesn't LIKE being in the carrier.

Most of the time, though, he's fine with it. His hair makes a funny pattern on the back of his head-- it's all in the middle! Note the mandatory Farmers' Market iced mocha.

Contrary to what it looks like, I am checking out the tomatoes in this picture, not the ass of the girl next to me. Honestly, they have a dozen different tomatoes!
I think next time, I'll make Don wear Robert so that I can take pictures, instead. Not that I'm a great photographer (far from it), but he takes point-and-click entirely literally.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Loving Hands

Most kids have some kind of 'lovey' object, a stuffed toy or a blanket that they won't sleep without. My sister, brother and I each did, certainly. So far, Robert seems to feel that way about my left hand. When he's fussy and over-tired, this is how he finally settles down:

Part of me looks forward to the inevitable transfer to some special toy. Most of me, though, does not. It's such a short period of time when we are everything they need and want...

Monday, August 17, 2009

The Hospital Experience, Part II

The things I didn't care for regarding the hospital can be divided into two categories: the systemic and the organizational. By systemic, I mean those things that are done because... that's how they are done;that, to get around them, one would have to sign an "against medical advice" waiver. By organizational, I just mean those times when it seemed like the left hand didn't know what the right hand was doing.

To be admitted to Labor and Delivery, one should be at least three centimeters dilated, or with water already broken. This makes sense in theory, since it keeps women from coming in too soon. My issue was that I had a scheduled doctors' appointment the morning I went into labor. My contractions started about 5:00am, and I was at the OB's office by 11. At first they freaked out a bit, because I happened to have a contraction right as the nurse was taking my blood pressure, so my BP readings, which had always been in the low-normal range, were way off. The doctor rushed in and started rapid-firing all of the Pre-Eclampsia questions: headache/ blurred vision/ vomiting/ etc?-- but I assured him I was fine, had merely had a contraction right at that moment. He re-checked it and it was back to my usual 110/68. I asked for a cervical check, to see if this was "real labor" (as I mentioned previously, I never did lose my mucus plug and my water never broke), and my doctor determined that I was three centimeters dilated, with the baby totally posterior. He asked about the timing of my contractions, which at that time were all over the place, and said that once they became regular, 3-4 minutes apart, I should call back in. Well, they became regular during the five-minute drive back home. I timed them: every three minutes. I hung out at home for maybe an hour, called Don home, called the doctors' office. They made me come back to the office for another "check" before sending me to the hospital. I pointed out that I'd been there not two hours ago, and had already been declared 3 cm, but apparently there was nothing in their protocol that allowed for such inconsistencies in the routine. So, even though I'd been checked at 11:00 by The Bad, I had to go back at 1:00 to be checked by The Good, since he was the one who'd be delivering me, and THEN drive from there to the hospital. (Which, OK, is basically across the street, but still. In the three minutes it took to find a parking space, I had two contractions in which the baby turned completely around*, and it hurt like hell.)

Robert's extra time in the Special Care nursery was pure CYA on the hospital's part. They held him until they were absolutely sure that he didn't have an infection of some sort, particularly Group B Strep. From what I understand, the antibiotics I was on during labor, while drastically reducing the odds that he would contract the strep, also made it very difficult to diagnose an infection should he get it anyway. The doctors never said this explicitly, since it would make the antibiotics look questionable, but its what I pieced together from their explanations. Since Robert was breathing very fast and had a somewhat elevated temperature, the doctors weren't taking any chances. I understand why they do that, but it was pretty obvious after his first day in the nursery that Robert was perfectly healthy-- his breathing had dropped to mostly normal, no fever or anything-- and his being there wreaked havoc on my post-partum emotional state and on our breastfeeding relationship.

The organizational problems were things like nobody being able to come up with a breast pump for me during the time that Robert was not able to eat (breathing so fast that it was an aspiration risk; IV only); a nurse forgetting to bring me my (desperately needed) Ibuprofen; my previously-described hospital-discharge fiasco; and the three-hour bath. A few hours after the birth, as I was rolling from the delivery room to maternity, my nurse offered to take Robert to the nursery for a bath. I agreed, mostly because his hair was still caked with dried blood. I didn't see him again for three hours. If I'd known that ahead of time, I would have kept his grotty little head with me, instead. Apparently, newborns have to be 'warmed up' under heat lamps to a certain temperature before the nurses can strip them down and bathe them, then re-warmed before being returned to their mothers. I ended up calling for him repeatedly on the little intercom: "Yes, this is Room ___, the nurses took my baby for a bath? But that was ninety minutes ago? Can you tell them to bring him back?" Had I been able, I would have simply marched down to the nursery and retrieved him, or hung out there while he was bathed and warmed, but I was still totally bed-bound at that point.**

So, there it is: the less-than-pleasant aspects of giving birth in the hospital. The whole experience is still tilted in their favor, all things considered.

*I could tell partly because up until then, all of the contraction pain had been in my back; these two were all over the place, and from then on the pain was much more "in front". Also, the next time I was checked at the hospital, the baby was no longer posterior.

**Three hours later, with Robert safely at my side, I got out of bed and went to the bathroom all by myself. This is something I never thought I'd have to be proud of, but it took heroic effort and planning.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Hospital Experience

Yes, I'd say that, overall, I am happy with the care that Robert and I received at the hospital. I say this as somebody that originally wanted a midwife-attended homebirth, one fairly suspicious of the whole hospital methodology; a lot of publications imply (or say right out) that in order to have a 'natural' birth in a hospital setting, you have to fight hard for it. I did not find that to be true. There were a few things that were irksome, but they seemed mostly a matter of organization. So, the things that were good, in no particular order:

--The nurses are very pro-movement during labor; there's no tendency to try to keep the laboring woman on the bed. "Do whatever helps" seems to be their mantra. My nurse suggested walking around, squatting on a birth ball (they did seem rather inordinately proud of their birth balls, I wonder if they're new or something), kneeling, and going to hands and knees near the end, when I was almost fully dilated but still had a "lip" of cervix in the way.

--The jacuzzi tub. This is probably what made the difference between being able to get through the first stage of labor with no painkillers, and needing an epidural. I spent more than four straight hours in that tub. (And, they never run out of hot water...) The nurse came by periodically to check on me and on the baby (with a hand-held Doppler), but other than that just left me alone, which was what I needed. If I have my next baby at that hospital, it will be because of the tubs more than anything, probably.

--I was asked on arrival whether I thought I'd be wanting an epidural, and I said no. Nobody ever offered me one again. My nurse explained afterwards that she knew that I knew that I only had to ask should I change my mind, so why offer? There was simply no mention of painkillers until after Robert was born, when I needed some for the stitching.

--Nobody ever suggested speeding up the labor. This seems to be the biggest complaint against hospital procedure, that they push the Pitocin too much. I don't know if it's because I was progressing nicely every time we checked, or because my water hadn't broken, or if my timing was just particularly good: I arrived shortly before a mid-afternoon shift change, and delivered well before that shift was over. Robert was born somewhere around 8:00pm, so it could just be that we were being convenient. Or maybe this hospital just doesn't have a policy of pitting patients that haven't truly stalled. All I know is that I came in expecting to have to defend myself against the Evil Pit, and it never came up.

--Every procedure done prior to the birth was framed as an option, not a requirement. The nurse never said, "We're going to check your dilation now", it was always, "If you like, we can check to see how you're doing, but it's up to you". Once I got to transition, she went over with me what I wanted to happen immediately post-birth: place the baby on my belly, delay cord-clamping, all that. (Did I mention that my carefully crafted Birth Plan was still in the car, with the rest of The Bag?) Of course it all went out the window with the shoulder dystocia-- the cord was cut immediately and Robert rushed away-- but from talking with other women who've delivered at this hospital, I don't doubt that without that circumstance, it would have happened as discussed. I do like that they never took the baby from the room or out of my sight, even though he couldn't be with me immediately.

--My obstetrician was fine. The practice that I use has three OBs, which I think of as The Great, The Good, and The Bad; he is The Good. I do think that he was getting a bit frustrated or annoyed with me towards the end, since I basically screamed non-stop for the better part of an hour while trying to avoid the pain (and therefore not progressing)-- I remember thinking at one point, "who cares, dude, this is MY party"-- but Don said that he seemed chagrined once he saw what I had been dealing with. I have to take his word for it, I neither noticed nor cared. The doc did what he was there to do, left the touchy-feely part to the nurse, and did a meticulous job sewing me together again.

--The way the dystocia was handled. Had I not already known what it means for shoulders to get stuck (and what it can lead to), I might not have even noticed what was happening; they were so calm, focused, organized, and fast. Anti-drama. I can easily see how somebody in my situation could have missed it entirely, up until the rest of the baby was born and the pediatric team took over.

--The nursery nurses were amazing; they deserve their own post, or some brownies or something. Actually, all of the nurses-- labor & delivery, post-partum, and baby nurses-- were fantastic; they're kind of a local legend here. The baby nurses really seemed to understand just how special MY baby was*. Since Robert spent an extra two days in the hospital as well as the last day of my stay, I think I saw more of the nurses than one usually would, and they were so nice to me.

--Every nurse except one was able to help me with the breastfeeding, in addition to the hospital's lactation consultants that came by periodically. This was good since it did not seem to come naturally to either of us. I didn't get any bad advice from them, nor were any of them pushy or invasive, which I understand to be the main complaint against hospital nurses and LCs in regards to breastfeeding.

*I also think that they liked him because he was an anomaly; every other baby in the Special Care Nursery was premature-- tiny, red, and in need of a lot of care-- while he was this big, chubby, mellow guy that was clearly healthy and merely needed observation. He was literally twice the size of any of the other babies there, happily basking under his heat lamp, equally OK with breastfeeding or taking a bottle. They kept playing with his hair, styling it into a little baby-Hawk...

I'll outline what I didn't like about being in a hospital next time...

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Birth Story, from the moment of crowning.

I really want to hear your birth story. Shoulders rarely truly get stuck. --

I was answering in the comments, but it got ridiculously long. I still don't seem to be up for writing the whole birth story, but I can jump to this part:

I'd been pushing for about half an hour, maybe forty minutes. The nurse had positioned something called a squat bar over the bed and tied a sheet to it, so that I could pull on the sheet in a way that repositioned me a bit. It really seemed to be helping to bring the baby down, which had been the obstacle so far. She was very excited, and told me she could see "lots of hair"* and that I was almost there. I couldn't tell her that at this point, the baby felt like an afterthought and I just wanted the pain to be over. I got to the point of the famous 'ring of fire' and was actually, literally afraid that I was getting ripped in half. (The nurse told me later that it was at the moment of crowning that she realized Robert was a larger-than-average baby.) Somebody-- the nurse? Don? the doctor?-- exclaimed that the head was out! I remember wondering, why the pain hadn't lessened at all yet. Then my doctor said, "shoulders stuck". Suddenly, everything seemed to stand still and speed up, at the same time. My focus snapped back from myself to the baby. The doctor or nurse must have hit an emergency button, because a team of medical personnel rushed into the room. The room felt very quiet, and very focused. The doctor asked me to stop pushing for a minute-- he repositioned my legs slightly-- then told me to push as hard as possible-- simultaneously, the nurse sort of pushed on my abdomen from the outside-- it was this kind of rolling motion-- while the doctor reached inside me to reposition the baby (felt about as pleasant as it sounds, but I wasn't caring)-- then the whole baby rushed out. He was covered in blood (mine, but for some reason I thought it was his) and they rested him on my stomach for an instant, just long enough for me to try to grab at him-- my hands were all bloody for some time afterwards. The nurse exclaimed that he was huge, I asked "so he's a boy, then?", she said that she actually couldn't see and asked the doctor, who confirmed, a boy. Just as quickly, before I could do more than touch him, the baby nurses and pediatrician hurried him to the back of the room and started checking him over.

The whole time elapsed between Robert's head emerging and the rest of him being born was easily less than a minute, and yet I can remember each fraction of that minute as though it were an hour, like a car crash. It was probably less than another minute later, that the baby team on the other side of the room confirmed that he was just fine, no nerve damage or anything else. Robert was bawling by this point, and I was too.

Everything after that point was clean-up. The nurse added some Pitocin to my IV (I was on intravenous antibiotics for Group B strep); I delivered the placenta; the doctor called for the materials he'd need to start the stitches. He informed me that I'd suffered third-degree lacerations and that it would take him some time to get me "put back together". Gave me two shots of a local anaesthetic since I hadn't had an epidural and started sewing, but for some reason when he got to a certain point I could feel it. I was still screaming and crying, partly because I was still in tremendous pain, partly just from being totally overwhelmed. I could hear Robert crying from his end of the room (they never took him out of the delivery room, everything was right there) and was irrationally worried that they were going to do something to him that I hadn't authorized (I don't know what-- a quick circumcision, maybe, or the Hep B shot?-- but I was not exactly rational at this moment.) I kept asking Don to go over to that side of the room and be with Robert, but he wouldn't leave my side, said that the baby was in good hands. At this point, I got the shakes and realized that I was freezing-- my hospital gown, pillows, everything was drenched in sweat, but I hadn't noticed; thankfully, the nurse did. She tried to change my gown and pillows without moving me too much, since the doctor was still parked at the other end of the bed with the needle. The baby team finished up with Robert, bundled him up in a blanket, and handed him to Don. Don brought him over to the bed, but there was no way I could hold him, I was shaking like mad. The nurse tentatively offered me a general painkiller that could go in my IV-- something morphine-like-- that was very fast-acting, would warm me up, and leave my system just as quickly. I accepted, explaining that the baby was out and it was only him that I didn't want drugged. I'd take whatever she had! Almost as soon as she added the opiate to my IV, I could feel it take effect; it was as though the room had suddenly gotten much warmer, as though I were under a warm blanket. I could still feel the very weird sensation of the surgical thread being pulled through the stitches, but not any pain. I relaxed, stopped shaking, stopped crying. I noticed Don in a chair holding the baby; they seemed to be in deep conversation.

Finally, after about forty minutes, my doctor finished sewing. He put the end of the bed back on so that I could stretch out, and Don brought the baby to me. The nurse asked if I wanted to try to put him to the breast, since he was awake, and we tentatively tried nursing for the first time. Somewhere during that time, the doctor shook my hand and Don's, and left. The nurse went to try to find me some real food, since the cafeteria had closed by then. She brought back a salad, talked about the labor and birth with me a little bit (post-game analysis, you know); mopped up some of the blood on the floor, brought the placenta over for me to see, walked me to the bathroom. After all this, she said that we could try moving from the delivery room to the room I'd be staying in until we left.

Shoulder dystocia occurs in 0.6 to 1.4 percent of births of babies between 5 pounds 8 ounces and 8 pounds 13 ounces. The occurrence jumps to between 5% to 9% of babies in the 8 lb 13 oz-- 9 lb 14 oz range**. Robert was 10 pounds. While his head circumference was in the normal range at 14", his chest circumference (14.5") was both larger than average, and somewhat unusual in that it was bigger than his head. I didn't have any of the risk factors for shoulder dystocia (gestational diabetes, maternal short stature, past-due pregnancy), nor any of the labor risk factors, like a forceps delivery, but Robert's size alone made us susceptible.

His size was also a big surprise, to everybody. My obstetricians had estimated a birth weight of about eight and a half pounds at our last ultrasound, three weeks before the event. I had no trouble believing it. There is no history of big babies in our families. Looking back, I don't know whether or not I would have wanted to know ahead of time, that he was going to be that big. It may have affected my belief in whether or not I could do this natural-no-drugs delivery; it may have affected my doctor's treatment of the birth. I suppose it could be argued that the doctor would have been better prepared for dystocia had he suspected a big baby, but I don't see how the process could have been any smoother: they worked like a machine as it was, with no notice at all. I think it was for the best that we all went into the birth expecting an eight-pounder, and getting the other two pounds as a bonus, so to speak.

Robert only ever lost 8 ounces of his birth weight, and had already started gaining it back by the time he was discharged from the hospital. (The pediatrician looks from the scale to me and says, "Well, I guess I don't need to ask you if your milk has come in yet!") At 11 weeks, he is still at the very top of the growth charts for both weight and length, so it doesn't seem to be a fluke so far; he is just a big dude.

*This is Robert at two days, so she wasn't kidding!

** I read somewhere that the average head circumference of ten-pound babies is not any larger than the average head circumference of eight-pound babies; the extra weight is all in the body. This is probably why the potential for problems during delivery of the chest and shoulders increases with larger babies.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Placentas and Mucus Plugs

Supposedly, there are several ways to know for sure that labor has started and the baby is finally on the way. I guess they're just a loose guideline, though, because none of them happened to me before Robert's birth. The obvious one is The Water Breaking, that's the event in every movie and sitcom featuring a birth. It's always shown as the very first sign, even before a contraction, although that's hardly the way it really happens for most women. Losing the mucus plug is the other Big Sign of Impending Birth, although that one is rarely mentioned in media, probably because it sounds so gross. Well, my water never broke, and I never lost my mucus plug; I just had contractions. That was my only indication that the baby was on his or her way. When I was about eight centimeters dilated, the doctor offered to break the amniotic sac for me, to 'speed things up a bit'. Don says that the doctor asked me several times about the 'plug', although I don't remember this. (I think there's probably a lot that I don't remember about the birth, to be honest.) He says that they asked me a few times, I kept telling them that it never came out, and then (apparently) they found it... I still don't know why they needed to know.

After the birth, once Robert had been thoroughly examined and I'd been stitched up and we were finally back together again, the nurse offered to show me my placenta. Generally, I despise trying to divide populations into neat groups, but in this case I think it's safe to say that people can be deposited into one of two camps: those that do not want to look at or even think about the placenta-- throw it into the medical waste bin and be done with it-- and those that are curious and want to see it. (Then there are those that want to take it home and eat it, but that's a whole 'nother category, I guess.) I definitely fall into the wants-to-see group. I mean, I grew this thing; it was the bridge between me and my baby for the last six months. To think that women grow this entire organ, in such a short time period, and it's disposable. It amazes me. For a long time, I seriously doubted my ability to grow a healthy placenta. One of the pregnancies that I lost (August 2007, AKA "the one with a heartbeat") went wrong right about the time when the placenta should have started taking over, and that was after we'd seen an embryo with a beating heart. The odds of miscarrying in those circumstances are very low, so I suspected a bad placenta or cord. This is pure supposition on my part, not based on anything the doctors told me, so it could all be in my head. But all through my pregnancy with Robert, I worried about our placenta and cord. The ultrasound techs probably thought I was a bit odd, because at each ultrasound, after determining that the baby was developing perfectly, I'd ask about the placenta and the umbilical. I'd ask them to show me where they were, confirm that they were perfect, too. Naturally, I wanted to see it afterwards.

It was interesting, larger than I would have expected, but then Robert himself was larger than expected. What really took me by surprise, though, was the amniotic sac, the so-called "bag of waters" that breaks-- or doesn't-- during labor. It was so much stronger and thicker than I expected. I guess I was expecting plastic wrap, and it was more like a zip-top freezer bag. The nurse showed it to us, actually lifted the whole placenta (which seemed to weigh a couple of pounds) by the sac, it was that strong. I think that if the obstetrician hadn't sliced it, the sac wouldn't have broken until the moment of birth (or, in our case, several long, terrifying minutes of birth), and that if we hadn't had the additional complication of the baby's shoulders getting stuck, he might have been born in it.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Can't Deny Him

Robert bears a great resemblance to Don. It's in the shape of his face, his eyes, his fair coloring, even at times in his expressions. Don says, poor kid. I say, rubbish. After all, why would I reproduce with someone, if I didn't want to see their genes represented? Naturally, everybody that sees Robert and knows Don, feels the need to comment on the similarity, which is fine. What I don't get-- what really bothers me-- is this: "Well, Don, there's no denying this baby!" and its many variants. What the hell?

First of all, how is my baby's parentage up for discussion, in any way, shape, or form? Is it my faithfulness that you're questioning, or Don's virility? Do you routinely speculate along these lines about babies who are born into happy, monogamous marriages? It just boggles my mind that this is considered an appropriate comment for casual conversation. Second, what if Robert didn't happen to be Don's doppelganger? What if he looked nothing like Don; if he looked, for example, more like me? Does that mean that Don could deny him? Can men look at their new babies and say, "Sorry, he doesn't resemble me closely enough, therefore I do not accept him as my own?" I hardly think so, especially in this day of paternity tests and child support. It's like there's this implication that men have the option of denying their children's existence.

Lastly, for all of those who can only see Don in Robert, check out this picture of my brother as a little boy:
Clearly, some of my family's genes are being expressed, as well, and I strongly suspect they'll get more obvious as Robert gets older...

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Not a good morning so far.

Apparently, the pediatrician can only treat Robert, not me. This is news to me, since they did treat us both the last time. I did not receive a call back from them, and by the time I called again and got through to somebody, it was too late to call my OB's office (they close a lot earlier than the pediatrician). So now, I'm waiting for a call from a doctor's office, AGAIN, having left a message requesting the prescription. It's so much like yesterday, it may as well be the same day. My nipples hurt. Robert's mouth is a disgusting mess, and he's off his usual sunny form. I can't start him on his prescription until I get mine, since they should be done concurrently.

Last night, Robert would not sleep. Usually, he falls right back to sleep after (or during) a feeding. Not last night. He wasn't crying, really, just fussing: whimpering, grunting, kicking and waving. Just enough to keep me from sleeping, either. Not nearly enough to keep Don up, of course. Because of that, I stayed in bed longer than I meant to this morning. Having no air conditioning in my car to speak of, if I want to get out of the house at all during the day, I have to go early, before the car heats up too much. (It's not so much the outside temperatures, which I can handle pretty well as a born-and-bred Texan, but the added green-house effect of the car itself. I worry for the baby.) We had to skip our daily walk (sorry, Alice) and trip to our favorite coffee house. I decided on a route that would take us to Shenandoah Joe's instead (another great coffee place), then Whole Foods, then Harris Teeter. (I know it's fussy to use two different grocery stores, but that's how it is. I like getting produce, fish, and meats from WF; paper goods, pet food, and stuff like that from the other.) The problem with Joe's is that their parking lot is very small, and there is no other place to park. We drive there, find no place to leave the car, so I have to go on. Decide to hit up Starbucks instead, as it's quite close to Whole Foods. Finally reach Starbucks, park the car, and... realize that I left my purse (wallet, money, drivers' license, everything) at home. Swear copiously. Turn around and head for home. Have I mentioned that it's like 90 degrees out? Because it is.

Drive all the way back home, run inside, grab stupid purse. Since we're starting from scratch, now, decide to try Joe's again. This time, there's a parking spot, thank goodness. Things start to look better with an iced mocha. (Have I mentioned that I haven't, at this point, had any coffee or any breakfast yet?) Decide to scratch HT's and just do Whole Foods as quickly as possible. Hope that they have something called Gentian Violet, a topical remedy for thrush. They do not. Robert, who has been a model citizen up until this point, loses it in the checkout line. I'm carrying him in the Mei tei, and he's having no more of it. Aside: you know what's funny? There seems to be an inverse relationship between how much help somebody needs, and how much is offered. I've had people offer to let me cut in line ahead of them, ("because your hands are so full!") when Robert is sleeping peacefully in the Mei Tei. Checkers and baggers offer me help out to my car when I only have a few items. But when the baby is screaming, or I have a forty-pound bag of kibble to wrestle with, everybody seems to look the other way. I don't get it.

Anyway. Whoever had been in line front of me had apparently left to grab something, leaving her goods on the conveyor belt. Three little things: a candy bar and two tubs of convenience food. For some reason, the check-out guy is dithering and worrying about where she went and what to do with her foodstuffs. Have I mentioned the screaming baby in my arms, yet? For God's sake, man, just set her little purchase aside, and ring me up! She left the line, that's her problem. It's not as though we're talking about a cart full of food, here.

Now we're back home, obviously, and I'm trying to regain some kind of good mood. Robert is already there. The poor little guy is such a cheerful one by nature, that he tries to smile even when he's upset. Now, recently fed and cool again, he is smiling and having a discussion with the ceiling fan. (I do not know whether the fan talks back, or whether it matters.) I am a morning person, and the downside to that is, if I miss the morning or it doesn't go well, then my whole day feels shot. It probably doesn't help that I hate this time of year. August is my least favorite month; all I can do is put my head down and power through it.

I'm giving my OB one more hour to call me back, before I start calling them again.

Dinner last night was funny, because it was non-meat for the second day in a row. Not for any intentional reason, it just worked out that way; pasta with pesto and veggies the night before, then quesadillas with cheese, onion, and peppers last night. Usually I put chicken in the quesadillas, but didn't have any handy. I was a bit worried about whether Don would like them, whether they'd be enough for him*, but he scarfed them down with compliments. Then as we were cleaning up, he mentioned that they could have "used a bit more chicken". I said, "you mean, could use some chicken, period? Because these didn't have any..." It just goes to show the power of suggestion: because Don expected there to be chicken in the quesadilla, he didn't notice that it was missing. And he'd already gone on about how yummy they were, and that he was quite full, etc. Ha.

*Don = carnivore. Me = omnivore. Robert = lactivore. hehehe.

Monday, August 03, 2009


Well, we have thrush... again. Breastfeeding: it is so fun, I don't understand why everybody isn't doing it! I noticed that I was in a good bit of pain again with the nursing, and did what I always do when faced with a possible medical problem: ignore it and hope it gets better all by itself. Unfortunately, it got worse and not better, then the Evil White Spots of Doom showed up in poor Robert's mouth to make him miserable. I can't take the laissez-faire approach with Robert; when he's sick we call the doctor. I'm waiting for the pediatricians' office to call me back regarding medicines... Apparently there is a bit of confusion as to whether or not they are supposed to treat me as well as Robert. They did last time, so I assumed that they could again, but the nurse on the phone wasn't sure. (Thrush is a lovely "shared" experience between a nursing pair; there's not much point in treating the baby but not the mother, or vice versa, because the untreated will simply re-infect the other.) I might have to call my obstetrician, instead. Will they want to see me, or can they simply call in the medication? They'd pretty much have to take my word for it, that it hurts to nurse, and hurts in-between times, too. Why the heck would I want a prescription for a systemic antifungal, unless to treat a yeast infection? It's not as though I'm looking for painkillers or something. What I do not want to have to do: load my unhappy baby into his car seat and drive to the doctors' office on this hot, sunny day, when I don't have air conditioning in my car. I want somebody, anybody, to call in two prescriptions for Diflucan, and for Don to pick them up on his way home from work. For awhile, I was taking probiotics religiously, and garlic pills, but I got lax about them as we started to feel better last time. I think we're both still a bit unbalanced from the intravenous antibiotics I had to be on during labor and delivery; Don doesn't understand this since it was over two months ago, but I tried to explain that if you kill off all of your happy, healthy, "good" bacteria, it doesn't just grow back overnight, and they're the bugs that keep everything else, like yeasts, in check. On the bright side, I don't feel the deep pain in my breasts like I did last time, and I don't see any signs of a yeast-based diaper rash in Robert (indicating that it's in his gut as well as his mouth), so maybe the thrush isn't as established this time as it was before.

Two more television-themed observations: One, I know I'm watching too much TV during the daytime, because the info-mercial type products are becoming more and more interesting. Suddenly, I want to buy a Sham-wow. I want that kit that fixes the dings in my car, and that thingie that cleans the inside of the windshield-- like a sponge on a swivel-y stick. The funny thing is that, until Don gets home, I'm usually only watching about 10-15 minutes at a time, every 2-3 hours (i.e., when the baby is nursing); the Internet tends to be my drug of choice. I guess it doesn't take that much exposure, or else I'm unusually responsive to advertising. Speaking of which, Robert nurses for about ten minutes at a time. The Weather Channel broadcasts local weather every ten minutes. I am always familiar with our local forecast these days. Second, doesn't it suck when, having both a decent DVD collection and cable, a movie comes on cable that you have on DVD, and you end up watching it on TV? Already half over, with scenes left out, words bleeped, and commercial breaks? I hate that! And yet it happens all the time, especially with Don. For some reason, it's fine to watch two-thirds of a movie on cable, but it's too much of a commitment to go ahead and get out the DVD. I don't get it, especially because a lot of our favorite movies play like an auditory Mad-Libs game on cable. Fill in the following blanks: " Up yours, ________!" "You use your mouth prettier'n a twenty dollar _____!" Can you tell that we watched part of Blazing Saddles last night?

Well, I must go swallow a couple of probiotic capsules and stare at my cell phone, willing the nurse to call.