Thursday, December 20, 2007

The Post Pregnancy "Diet"

The process of recovering from childbirth is such a strange process. Just hours after I left the recovery room, I was craving food...massive amounts of food. They would only let me have liquids for the first day, which didn't sit well, but by midnight I was allowed to have a tuna sandwich...and sherbert...and fruit. In the morning, they gave me french toast for breakfast, grilled cheese for lunch, and turkey for dinner. I ate just about everything they put in front of me for two-and-a-half days.

My official weight the day before m was born (at my OB appointment) was about 182 lbs...that is hard to admit, even though it's a pregnancy weight! Harder still, I'm about to divulge my weight upon my arrival home...178 lbs. How, you may ask, did I only lose 4 pounds when I gave birth to an 8 pound baby? Well, somehow the grilled cheese and french toast turned into some sort of liquid which pooled in my legs, feet, and belly. Honestly, I came home looking almost as pregnant as I did before I gave birth. I looked at myself in the mirror and tears welled up in my eyes. The nurses told me it would "go away", but that it was more difficult with the second child.

Well, here I am, a week after returning home, and my weight this morning? 166 lbs! Um, could you please tell me where TWELVE POUNDS went in seven days? Yes, I'm breast feeding, yes, I'm eating better, but twelve pounds? I can see my ankles today for the first time, I can zipper my winter jacket, and I'm not worried anymore about people asking me, "When are you due?"

So my question is, how do we bottle this? How do we sell this hormones-water-loss-crazy-metabolism combination to make us a million dollars? Of course, we'd have to remove the "giving birth" requirement, or it would be a hard to market, I suppose.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Blogging Starts Labor

Well, my last post was December 8, when I was sitting here on the couch complaining about eBay. In the middle of writing my post, I got a twinge in my belly, and long story short, m is laying next to me all swaddled up, 10 days old. I am working on a birth story, but that post will come later...

What do you say about a baby...he is a little miracle, with a perfect face and tiny hands and legs that curl up towards his chest. He cries and wiggles and sleeps, and makes funny baby faces. He is the most beautiful thing I've ever is that possible, when E is also the most beautiful thing I've ever seen?

E has been so good with him, except for today when she whacked him in the head with a WonderPets DVD. It was an accident, I'm sure...she seems to really love him, and calls him "Baby m". She says "Baby m's cawyin" when he starts to fuss, and tries to put his chuchi in to make him feel better. She pets his head, softly, and talks to him in a high pitched voice. She is a good big sister, and watching her with him is a joy.

I remember when E came home, I did not get very much sleep because she would cry out about every hour and a half to two hours. Baby m sleeps much more soundly, and we are getting stretches of 2-3 hours of sleep between night feedings. In the morning I feel almost human, with a total of about 6 hours sleep. With E, I think it was a month or two before I got that much in one night. Thanks, Baby m. We're so glad you're here!

Saturday, December 8, 2007

It's Better When You Buy It Now

There are so many wonderful things about Ebay. For one, it's the biggest source of information about obscure junk that exits, anywhere. I use it sometimes to look up the value of something we have laying around the house, or something I saw (but didn't buy because it cost all of $5) at a garage sale. Sometimes I get the history of some item that I found on the side of the road...yes, I pick things up from the side of the road.

Another thing it's good for is replenishing your life with the things that meant so much to you when you were a kid, but somehow ended up in the trash. Who would have known how much I wanted that Sesame Street record album containing such hits as "Going on a Bear Hunt" and "The Magic Cookie"? Two years ago, I found that one on Ebay, and with a high bid of $40, I won it. When I saw "Congratulations!" on the screen, I actually jumped up and down...I may have even cried a little. At that time, it was fun to win it.

But now, I just don't have the energy for this cr*p. I just want to buy the old nativity scene that we used to have in our bay window. (You can see a similar one here if you want.) It's Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus, with a little crib-type thing and some straw. In the last week, two of these sets have come up for auction, and I've bid on both of them. In both cases, I sometime in the last hour of bidding, and one in the last ten seconds. I am not in the mood to sit and watch the screen, hitting refresh over and over, to see if any other bids pop up. I do not want to compete, I do not want to lose. I just want to buy the darned thing and have it show up at my doorstep a week later.

I AM competitive...I should love this, but I don't. Both nativities sold for about $30. If one shows up with a "Buy it Now" button, I'll pay $100. Plus shipping. I don't care anymore. Anybody have one they want to part with?

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Eating Stars

E's first word was 'milk'...she signed it clearly at about 5 months, and kept with it almost daily until she learned how to say it many months later. Watching her add signs like 'eat', 'more', 'kitty', 'fish', and 'bird' were fascinating. Having a means to communicate broke down a barrier and allowed us to bond with her in a new way. I loved it when she would initiate a conversation, pointing at her fish and signing at the same time.

As her vocabulary grew, it was still dominated by nouns, things we could point to and name. Her sentences were just one word, said in a certain tone. She might whine 'gweek' with a sad look, which meant she wanted a drink. 'Badaid' while nodding and pointing to her knee meant "Put a bandaid here, please." I think she currently knows about 25 animals by name, including 'pomous' (hippopotamous), 'jaguar', and 'elebup' (elephant).

Each day, we get closer and closer to true, effective language, and I'm loving it. This morning, laying on her back on the changing table staring at the ceiling, E said 'Eating stars,' and pretended to chew. There are glow in the dark constellations up there, thanks to M...she was pretending to eat them, and telling me about it. I'm dying to know more, E. What do the stars taste like? Are they soft? Do they radiate light from your belly? Tell me...

It sounds like poetry to me, eating stars. I can't wait to hear the rest.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Landing Butter Side Up

I have a good life, and I don't think I could have planned any of it to turn out this way. I was going to be a vet, or maybe a computer programmer, then maybe a researcher...I was NEVER going to be a teacher. Michigan? How did I get here? I don't really understand how any of this happened, this wonderful job, this fabulous family, these great friends.

I sometimes have students ask me for career advice, or tell me about their long term plans. I am terrible at advising them, because my comments go something like this..."There is absolutely no way for you to know what your life will be like in 10 years. You can plan and plan, you can apply to schools, you can try to find the perfect place to live...and I'll bet you ten bucks that your life will be so different than you expect, you won't even recognize it as your own." Uh, that's not what they want to hear. But it's the only experience I have to go by. Every once in a while, I think I actually help, by giving them permission to drop some of the stress...there is no such thing as a perfect decision.

Ending up a mommy is just another piece of my life that surprises me on a daily basis. This beautiful face looking up at me first thing in the morning...who could have known 10 years ago that E would be? That I would ask her every day what she dreamed about, and every day she would answer "Cho-lo-co-late." Who would have known that I would be waiting with M for a Christmas baby to arrive? That my nightly routine now involves at least one chuchi (pacifier) run and a baby kick to the bladder that sends me running?

When you're making your life altering decisions like which state to live in, which job to take, which person to date, which shoe to put on first...surrender a bit and realize that the best plans often land your toast butter side down. But here I am butter side up, complete with bad, good, and indifferent decisions, a million miles from where I planned to be.

Monday, December 3, 2007

There's Something About Belly

When I was pregnant with E, I had a very difficult time during the last few weeks. I was having REAL contractions...not the bounce-a-coin-off-your-belly pressure kind. The real deal, with deep breathing and pain and a stopwatch. In my old journal, I taped in the little piece of paper where I kept track of each contraction for several hours. I was convinced that the birth was imminent, and sent M off to work thinking I'd be calling him to come home before lunch (he was on dayshift back then). By the afternoon, the contractions had gone from 8 minutes apart to about 30 minutes apart, and by that evening I was having only about 1 per hour. During that time, there were a few that were really whoppers...I couldn't talk, I could barely take a breath, and my only relief was to curl up on the floor and moan. That was 3 full weeks before E was born.

I didn't know then that some women have these contractions that don't lead anywhere....well, supposedly they're doing something, but it doesn't lead you to the delivery room! It's now called "prodromal labor", which is much better than the old term of "false labor." I would have been offended if anybody called what I was going through "false," as if I was making it up or something. At least giving it a medical term makes you feel like your pain has some validity.

It was hard to accept that I just had to keep waiting for the "false" to end, and the "real" to begin, so M asked me what I would miss about being pregnant. At that point, he was more hopeful than I was that there would actually be an end to the pregnancy. I was reluctant to answer the question, but compromised and made a list of both what I would and wouldn't miss. Now that I am 17 days (or less) from the birth of baby number two, I'm ready to do that exercise again, though this time I have much less anxiety about giving birth. I'm feeling pretty good most days, and the prodromal labor hasn't returned...if it does, I know that it can only last a maximum of 17 days from this moment! :)

First, what I won't miss about being pregnant:

  • The tightness in my belly...feeling like it might actually pop open at any moment.
  • "Hormonal mood swings"...that's what I choose to call my unpredictable nature these days.
  • Braxton-Hicks contractions every time I move from a sitting to a standing position.
  • The strange appetite changes, hungry one minute and nauseated the next.
  • The "two kids are a thousand times harder than one" speech. Please, people, this is not what I need to hear right now.
  • Giant swollen feet that you can press your fingerprint into.
  • Wearing M's winter coat because mine doesn't fit. I look like the yellow Teletubbie, whatever his name is.
  • The unspeakable symptoms that we, well, don't speak about.
Now, what I will miss:

  • People holding doors for me, with a happy "Awwwww" look on their faces.
  • Watching my belly morph into unnatural shapes as the baby changes position.
  • The anticipation and wonder about the baby's sex...pair this with people trying to guess the sex by the way I'm carrying. I LOVE that!
  • Eating donuts on a whim, without guilt.
  • Strangers' comments on the elevator..."When are you due?" "How much longer?" "You look so cute!"
  • Time alone with E.
  • The magic of pregnancy.

The Christmas tree is up, the nursery is almost ready, the list of potential names is short. We can't wait to meet you, Baby! Seventeen days and counting...

Header Image from Bangbouh @ Flickr